Calais: Refugees - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 2nd November 2017.

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Photo of Lord Judd Lord Judd Labour 3:45 pm, 2nd November 2017

My Lords, we have all to thank the noble Lord, Lord Roberts, for his courageous and constant vigilance on this issue. It has been good again to hear from my noble friend Lord Dubs, whose tireless work for practical results, however frustrating he finds it, is outstanding.

Three specific issues strike me concerning what my noble friend said. First, can we have an assurance from the Minister that the arrangements presently in place in the temporary centre in northern France will survive Brexit? How long can they be guaranteed? Secondly, can there be legal assistance for the young people at that centre? It is urgently needed. Thirdly, can proper transit arrangements rapidly be made to deal with the processing of documents?

We all know that whatever wonderful is work done by families, communities and local authorities in this country to provide a home for quite a number of refugees, the situation is still not satisfactory. In terms of the proportion of national wealth and national income for individual families, we in Britain still lag behind Europe in what we are doing. There is no reason for this. It is a tremendous challenge for us all.

Finally, I say simply that in our concern with the immediate situation in Europe, we must never lose sight of the fact that there are 65.6 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, 22.5 million refugees and 10 million stateless people. How on earth can we have a stable world—never mind the humanitarian, moral challenges—unless we work flat out with our neighbours in Europe and the international community to have effective international strategies to tackle this? How can we tackle its source and ensure that young people who are without work or hope in their own communities have some opportunity of finding work and some kind of future?