The crisis in Afghanistan is devastating, and I am afraid there is little that can now be done to prevent the Government from ending evacuation flights far too soon. The Defence Secretary announced today that no more people will be called forward to the airport for an evacuation flight.
At every turn, when trying to offer whatever help possible to extremely distressed constituents pleading for the lives of their families, my team has been met with hurdles. Government advice has been absent, or unclear where it is offered, and at times contradictory.
The UK Government has failed in meeting our country’s responsibility to the people of Afghanistan. The withdrawal has been disastrous, and too many people have now been abandoned.
The ending of evacuations, and the eventual fading of Afghanistan out of the media spotlight, must not mean that we turn a blind eye to the Afghan people who ask us for compassion and safety.
Many Afghan people will now be forced to make a potentially dangerous journey to find safe haven. It will take a collective effort to make the Government reverse their policies that treat fleeing danger as an act deserving of punishment and potential criminalisation.
I have already joined with other MPs to write to the Home Secretary raising serious concerns about the effect the Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill could have on people who make their way out of Afghanistan, and then seek asylum in the UK.
That letter has spelled out steps that can be immediately taken to introduce some humanity and compassion into our asylum system. This would include expediting family reunification applications, granting immediate protection to Afghan nationals currently awaiting a decision on their asylum applications, and dropping existing rules that could criminalise people seeking refuge.
I will do everything I can to hold the Government to account for this failure, and continue to call for a humane asylum system in the new Parliamentary term.
Read the Sky News article here.
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