Relocation of Migrants in need of International Protection (Opt-in Decision)

Part of European Union (Approvals) Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 7:14 pm on 14th December 2015.

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Photo of Kelvin Hopkins Kelvin Hopkins Labour, Luton North 7:14 pm, 14th December 2015

I accept what the hon. Gentleman says. I have said, and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Holborn and St Pancras on the Labour Front Bench has said, that we should accept more people from Syria. There is absolutely no question about that. We should play a bigger part in helping refugees to escape their terrible situation. The number the Government have decided to accept is far too low. That said, we are not going to have an open border policy in which very, very large numbers of people come here, because that would be politically destabilising. It would not be good.

Germany’s population was falling. It is a very successful industrial country with a low birth rate, which means it needs workers. Our population is increasing rapidly. We are going to overtake Germany and become the country with the largest population in the whole of the European Union. We are therefore in a very different situation from Germany. If we had a serous labour shortage, and lots of space and vacant housing, we would want to recruit more people.