Sustainable Development Goals

Part of Opposition Day — [15th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 6:22 pm on 28th January 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mark Lazarowicz Mark Lazarowicz Labour, Edinburgh North and Leith 6:22 pm, 28th January 2015

Absolutely. Public debate, engagement and support strengthen the hand of any Government in international negotiations such as those later this year.

Last week, I was fortunate to visit Leith Walk primary school in my constituency, where the students and their teachers had been involved in the important and valuable send my sister to school initiative. I am sure that we all have in our constituencies the same experience of young people being very committed to taking action on these issues. I hope that the Government will continue to support that through the continuation of the international citizen service.

It is important to be non-partisan on this issue, as far as possible, and to ensure that we have the widest consensus among political forces in this Chamber and outside. At the same time, it is also right to criticise and challenge a Government where there are failings. That is why I intervened on one of my colleagues about refugees from Syria and, bluntly, the Government’s failure to live up to what was promised just over a year ago. I know that is not the direct responsibility of the International Development Secretary, but the failure of the Home Secretary and her Ministers to live up to what we promised is a blot on our otherwise good record in supporting refugees and international development. I recognise that the Secretary of State cannot today suddenly reverse the Government’s record to date on supporting Syrian refugees, but I hope that she will have a word with her ministerial colleagues to ensure that we now live up to the Government’s commitments, which I believed at the time were made in good faith and which were supported across the House. I would like a change in our actions to be consistent with the policy that the Government followed just over a year ago.