Refugees (Family Reunion) (No.2) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:39 pm on 16th March 2018.

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Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow Conservative, Taunton Deane 12:39 pm, 16th March 2018

I am winding up, Mr Deputy Speaker—[Interruption.] I am winding everybody up, so I will cut to my conclusion.

We need to focus our efforts and humanitarian aid on ensuring peace and stability in the world. People do not want to leave their homes; they want peace. When any of them are asked, they say that what they really want is to stay in their own country, and that is what our country, with its humanitarian aid and overseas spending budget, is determined to help with as its first priority. The UK does not back away from its obligations, and it has pledged £2.46 billion of aid to Syria, and is committed to spending 0.7% of our GDP on international aid.

We must work with our partners across the world and with colleagues across the House, but our answer must strike the right balance between our will to shoulder our humanitarian responsibilities, and not encouraging a situation that would inadvertently cause more suffering. We need to deal with the root causes of the refugee crisis. Crucially, all existing regulations in our toolbox must be used effectively and eloquently—my hon. Friend Will Quince referred to that and I fully support his words.

Finally, as I have said, this Government have a fine record on refugees, but they are fully aware that in some areas that record might be improved. That is why we are reviewing legal aid, and why the Government are listening carefully to NGOs, and others, as part of their commitment to a wider review of our approach to family reunion, asylum and resettlement policy. I know they will continue to build on that approach, which fully supports our humanitarian principles. I welcome the discussion and debate that has ensued today, and I trust that notes are being made by those on the Treasury Bench. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester, I will continue to listen to the wider debate, and then I will make up my mind.