Syria: Refugees — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:46 pm on 10th December 2014.

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Photo of Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Labour 3:46 pm, 10th December 2014

My Lords, of course the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, is absolutely right that the only solution in the long term is a political solution, but it is a longer-term solution. I hope the Minister listened very carefully to what the noble Lord, Lord Alton, said. It is winter; this is an emergency. There are enormous difficulties for those countries which have been so generous in the region, particularly Jordan and Lebanon. Their systems are at breaking point. They have three rotas of children in their schools every day; they cannot vaccinate children fast enough. This is a generous-hearted country. The £700 million is fantastic and I applaud the Government, but we need to offer more. We need to offer what the United Nations is asking us to do, which is to take more of these displaced people who are in real difficulty. If this country gave a lead on this, others would follow in Europe and there would be a far greater response to what the UN has asked us to do.