Sleaford MP battles for the rights of migrant children

Stephen Phillips MP. EMN-140714-175833001
Stephen Phillips MP. EMN-140714-175833001

The Government has relented and backed down on its decision not to allow homeless child migrants at risk in the EU to come to Britain after Sleaford and North Hykeham MP Stephen Phillips made a passionate speech in the House of Commons.

These are unaccompanied children who have had to flee conflict and become separated from families because of traffickers or because families do not have the cash to go on with them. MPs eventually voted not to take in some of the children, sticking to their current policy of offering aid to camps near the border with Syria, citing it would otherwise attract more families to make the long and dangerous trip. But the Government has since done a U-turn and agreed to allow some children in.

As a parent, Mr Phillips appealed: “There are about 95,000 of them (children) in Europe, not just in Calais, but on the streets of Rome and Brussels and Paris and elsewhere. They’re cold, hungry and scared. In the past, as with the Kindertransport, which saved thousands of Jewish children in the run up to the Second World War, Britain has acted to give children like these safe haven.”

He argued these children, already in Europe, were at daily risk of violence and exploitation.

James Brokenshire - Minister for Immigration had sympathised in the debate, but said the Government has committed £2.3 billion to the Syrian crisis and is supplying food, shelter, medical treatment and support to the refugee camps.