Syria: Refugees and Counter-terrorism

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 3:44 pm on 7th September 2015.

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Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader 3:44 pm, 7th September 2015

May I thank the Prime Minister for his statement but say that I am sorry it was not shared in advance, as is the norm? That is extremely disappointing and frankly unacceptable, especially on matters of national security.

Having raised the humanitarian crisis with the Prime Minister at the first Prime Minister’s questions of this Parliament in June, I am glad that there are finally the beginnings of a change in UK Government thinking. It is frankly appalling that few more than 200 Syrian refugees have been taken up so far through the UK relocation scheme, and it is correct that we should be taking more. It is welcome that more will be given refuge in the UK, but it is a shame that that is being spread through the duration of this Parliament. Will the Prime Minister tell us how many Syrian refugees will be relocated to the UK before the end of the year?

We should take the opportunity to recognise the welcome that was given to refugees in countries such as Germany, Austria and Sweden. Today we learned that the French Government are to allow 24,000 Syrians to settle in France, while Germany is allocating £4.4 billion to support refugees. Why will the Prime Minister not work constructively with EU partners on accepting a share of the refugees who are in Europe at the present time? Will he make sure that he does not use the refugee issue as an excuse to revisit military intervention in Syria? Given the importance of all those issues, will the Prime Minister take part in the full day’s debate on the humanitarian crisis that will be held in the House of Commons this Wednesday? Finally, on counter-terrorism, when will the Prime Minister get round to setting up the Intelligence and Security Committee of this House?