Yvette Cooper MP

Working hard for Normanton, Pontefract, Castleford & Knottingley

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Anyone who thought the nasty party was dead has been proved wrong by Zac Goldsmith’s desperate campaign for the London Mayoralty.

Rather than try to persuade Londoners with a positive vision, the Goldsmith campaign is increasingly resorting to disgraceful, divisive tactics as the polls show the Tories falling further behind.

With each day, the smears and innuendoes get louder. It’s no longer just Zac Goldsmith’s own leaflets, briefings and clumsy attacks.

Now the Cabinet is joining in, trying different ways to link Sadiq to Islamist extremism based on no evidence at all.

When it doesn’t work, they just become ever more shrill.

We can’t let this go by – it’s time to call it out for what it really is before it gets worse. What started as a subtle dog-whistle is becoming a full blown racist scream.

Sadiq is a mainstream British Muslim who has spent his whole life fighting extremism, and he’s paid a heavy personal price for it.

He had death threats from extremists when he voted for same sex marriage – and had to discuss police protection with his young daughters.

He had extremists come to his local Mosque to protest, telling the congregation – his friends and neighbours – that he will go to hell because he believes in democracy, as will anyone who votes for him.

But despite all that, he’s bravely put his pledge to be ‘the British Muslim who’ll take on the extremists’ at the very centre of his campaign, with real plans to take on the extremists and tackle radicalisation, showing the kind of leadership and willingness to speak out that we need.

He’s been a strong voice against antisemitism. And over many years working with him on crime and security policies, I’ve seen his determination to keep Londoners safe.

Yet that’s what makes Goldsmith’s campaign even more appalling – they aren’t just attacking Sadiq, they are trying to undermine the very values we need to defeat extremism too.

They’ve sent leaflets to British Hindus with the outrageous claim that Sadiq wants to take their family jewellery.

Other leaflets call him “dangerous” and “a radical” in the hope that if they whistle the words often enough voters will start worrying about radicalisation instead.

Michael Fallon has attacked Sadiq as a “Labour lackey” who supports extremists. And in the last few days we’ve seen Michael Gove, Theresa May, and Boris Johnson each try to link Sadiq in people’s minds with Islamist extremism in different and deeply dodgy ways.

It’s the campaigning equivalent of pointing and shouting ‘don’t vote for him, he’s a Muslim’ – a nasty approach straight from the Lynton Crosby playbook.

Plenty of sensible Tories have been appalled. Baroness Warsi tweeted: “If Sadiq Khan isn’t an acceptable enough Muslim 2 stand for London mayor, which Muslim is?”

Shazia Awan, a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate described the Tory campaign as “‘divisive’, ‘colonial’, ‘sectarian’ and the return of the ‘nasty party”.

Binita Mehta, Conservative Group Leader at Watford Council, told the Telegraph: “This reckless approach needs to be confronted before we compromise our hard work thus far to win over ‘BME’ voters”.

Meanwhile, Simon Wooley, director of the independent Operation Black Vote described Goldsmith’s campaign as “the politics of division” and scathingly added: “This is not Donald Trump land where communities are pitted one against the other for political gain. This is London where we are proud of our diversity and…. we do get on with each other”.

I am sure that London will reject Goldsmith’s divisive campaign. London’s greatest strength is the respect and tolerance diverse communities have for one another.

You just have to look at the amazing response Sadiq is receiving from London’s Jewish community to see that the politics of division are not going to work here.

But Goldsmith’s campaign could still cause long lasting damage to the fabric of London life – a generation of young ethnic minority Londoners are looking at this campaign and thinking “that could be me” if they stick their head above the parapet.

Divisive campaigning drives rifts between communities. It says that if you are a mainstream Muslim who rejects extremism and abhors violence, you are still liable to be attacked by Tories as a threat to security.

It undermines those standing up against extremism and makes it easier for extremists to spread their hatred. In short, Zac Goldsmith’s campaign isnt’t just unpleasant, it is irresponsible and dangerous.

This election is now bigger than tribal party politics. It’s about the basic decency, humanity and tolerance of our capital city.

I hope Londoners who normally vote for the Tories will reject this nasty campaign, send a message that the city is better than this, and vote for Sadiq Khan. Now more than ever we need the Mayor for all Londoners that Sadiq will be.

Yvette's article for The Times - Zac Goldsmith’s dog-whistle is becoming a racist scream

Anyone who thought the nasty party was dead has been proved wrong by Zac Goldsmith’s desperate campaign for the London Mayoralty.

With the closure of Ferrybridge power station today and the loss of hundreds of skilled jobs across Knottingley, Ferrybridge and elsewhere,

Yvette Cooper MP said:

"This is a sad day for the workers at Ferrybridge and their families. It's also a bad day for Britain's energy policy as Ferrybridge is closing much sooner than it needs to, even though the Government hasn't got enough alternative energy generation in place.

"The Government has no proper energy strategy in place and they have ignored the campaign to stop Ferrybridge closing this spring. There was enough coal already on site at Ferrybridge to keep the station going for another year. SSE and the Government have taken the wrong decision by refusing to look at ways to extend the life of the plant rather than close it so fast. Experts are warning that there isn't enough energy capacity in place for next winter, yet the Government is rushing to close existing power stations down this year.

“We all want to see higher environmental standards. However the Government has ditched clean coal technology planned for Drax, and undermined investment in renewables so there is too little alternative energy capacity coming through to replace the coal fired power stations that Ministers are determined to close down. And there has been a big increase in planned diesel generation to fill the gap, even though diesel has even more serious environmental problems.

"We now need a fair deal for all the workers at Ferrybridge - those that are leaving now and those that are staying on to help decommission the site safely. That's the very least they deserve after showing such loyalty and commitment over the last year which the threat of closure hanging over them. I've been working with the unions to press SSE for a better deal. And we need a serious plan for new skilled jobs in our area. We've already lost Kellingley, now we are losing Ferrybridge. The Government's so called "Northern Powerhouse" looks more like a Northern Power Cut instead."

ENDS

Government and SSE have made the wrong decision on Ferrybridge

With the closure of Ferrybridge power station today and the loss of hundreds of skilled jobs across Knottingley, Ferrybridge and elsewhere, Yvette Cooper MP said:

Yvette questioned Chancellor George Osborne on the Government's deeply unfair, and chaotic budget in the debate last week. She challenged him twice on his unfair cuts for the disabled and the chaos over his Budget sums. you can see the exchange below:

Chancellor twice refuses to answer Yvette's questions about budget unfairness

Yvette questioned Chancellor George Osborne on the Government's deeply unfair, and chaotic budget in the debate last week. She challenged him twice on his unfair cuts for the disabled and...


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Recent Refugee Taskforce

Yvette Cooper, Chair of Labour’s Refugee Taskforce, has written to the Prime Minister following his comments on unaccompanied child refugees in Calais at the Franco-British Summit:

3rd March, 2016

 

Dear Prime Minister,

This afternoon at the press conference with President Hollande after the Franco-British Summit you said that lone child refugees with family in Britain can apply to join their family here, under the Dublin convention.

However this is not happening in practice and urgent action is needed by the British and French Governments to protect these extremely vulnerable children and teenagers from criminal gangs, prostitution, trafficking and abuse.

Charities have said that it is currently taking 9 months for a ‘take charge’ request to be processed. Can you tell me why it is taking this long and what these vulnerable refugees are supposed to do in the meantime?

Charities have also said that so far Britain has not accepted a single ‘take charge’ request involving unaccompanied minors in Calais, and in the past few weeks have rejected two such requests.

Is this true? Given your commitment today to implement the Dublin Agreement how can the Government justify not accepting any requests at all? Can you urgently review the Home Office handling of these take charge applications so that young refugees with relatives who can protect them can get urgent help?

Furthermore, the Government is appealing the ruling from the Upper Tribunal that three unaccompanied children and a mentally ill sibling be allowed to travel to Britain immediately to be in the care of their close relatives while they apply for asylum, rather than wait in the Calais camp with no one looking after their welfare.

Given the extreme vulnerability of these unaccompanied child refugees, why is the Government still appealing against the ruling? And will the Government now drop its appeal against the Upper Tribunal ruling and do everything it can now to work with the French authorities to fast-track the cases of unaccompanied children with family here?

Charities in Calais estimate there are some 150 lone children in Calais who have family here in Britain who could look after them while their asylum claim is being processed.

In January you announced that £10m would be made available specifically for the identification of unaccompanied children in Europe who could be reunited with family, and as you know that was welcomed as a step forward.

Since this announcement, how many children in Calais have been identified? And what discussions have taken place with Citizens UK, Save the Children and Help Refugees, working in Calais to help reunite them with their family as soon as possible?

These children, some as young as 11 and 12, are alone and at terrible risk. According to Europol some 10,000 lone child refugees have simply disappeared in Europe in this crisis.

You and I both have children of a similar age. None of us would conscience our own children living alone in these conditions. Nor would we want them to be vulnerable to abuse, gangs or prostitution. We have a moral duty not to turn our backs on them now, especially when they have relatives ready to keep them safe.

Both you and the French President have rightly recognised that these vulnerable children and teenagers need help, and where they have family in Britain who can look after them they should be reunited.

However both the British and French bureaucracies are badly failing these children now. It is shameful that our two proud countries are proving incapable of sorting this out when so much is at stake. I urge you to end the foot dragging and make sure there is urgent action between both Governments to rescue these children before more of them simply disappear.

Yours Sincerely,

 

Rt. Hon Yvette Cooper MP

Chair of Labour’s Refugee Taskforce

Yvette Cooper letter to David Cameron following comments on child refugees in Calais

Yvette Cooper, Chair of Labour’s Refugee Taskforce, has written to the Prime Minister following his comments on unaccompanied child refugees in Calais at the Franco-British Summit:

***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***

Yvette Cooper, Chair of the Refugee Taskforce, speech to the Royal United Services Institute on ‘The Refugee Crisis and Europe’

10th February, 2016

Thank you Julia and to RUSI for hosting this event today.

As the world’s oldest think tank on international defence and security, RUSI has been grappling with issues of international stability and cooperation between nations for 180 years. So it’s a fitting setting to be discussing the Refugee crisis and Europe today.

 

Let me start with a picture.

On a beach, a child.

Not playing, jumping in the waves

But lying dead. Drowned off Europe’s shores.

Not little Aylan Kurdi, the three year old whose body was found on a Turkish beach late last summer.

But a toddler. A little girl washed ashore on Kagia beach in Greece. Lying under a silver blanket while the waves lap and an aid worker sits quietly by.

We don’t know her name. Or where she was from. Barely noticed as so many children are drowning, dying and disappearing.

It’s getting harder. Harder to help. And harder to cope.

 

And the refugee crisis is set to get much worse this year unless we act.

Hundreds of thousands more Syrians driven from their homes

Thousands more families crossing the Aegean 

Europe is divided and destabilised and the far right is on the rise

The stakes are very high if we just drift on like this

More people will suffer and drown. More children will disappear. 

Disorder, instability and hatred in Europe will keep rising

In Britain Eurosceptics will use this to try to drive us out of Europe – even though Brexit will make it harder to deal with the challenges we face

And they will win unless we act

This is not beyond us.

We have dealt with tougher challenges before.

But it does need a comprehensive plan and for David Cameron to change tack

So I want to talk today about how I believe Britain and Europe can rise to this challenge but we can only do so together.


HUMANITARIAN CRISIS GETTING WORSE

We should be in no doubt that the humanitarian crisis is going to get worse this year if we don’t act.

Turkey expects 600,000 more people to reach its border as the Assad assault on civilians escalates and the Russian bombing goes on. They have already taken 2.5 million refugees.

Of course people are fleeing. And every one of us would do the same.

In Madaya those who didn’t flee were starved. 

In Homs those who stayed put were bombed. 

In Sinjar the Yazidi women who didn’t run were massacred or forced into sex slavery by Daesh. 

I found it heartbreaking to see the crayon pictures drawn by a young child on Lesbos of a family being bombed, of a neighbour being beheaded, such was the bloodshed she had fled. 

The Red Cross say most of those now arriving are from Syria. But there are more fleeing conflict and persecution too – from Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea. And there are others joining the convoy who are not refugees, who have safe homes to return to.

 

EUROPE

 

The smugglers boats haven’t stopped. Already this winter –there are ten times more than last year. The gangs give discounts if the waves are high. 3,700 people drowned last year.

So now think for a moment what will happen when they waves quell. If the numbers who come treble as the EU predict, 10,000 people - teachers, doctors, car mechanics, men, women and children – could drown this year off Europe’s shores.

 

Last year four EU countries and the Balkans took most of the strain. They won’t be able to do that again.

Asylum hostels are full in Sweden

Halls and reception centres are full in Germany

Children’s homes full in Italy

Graveyards are full on islands in Greece

 

The humanitarian consequences are serious.

 

70,000 people are now stuck in makeshift camps in Northern Greece. Save the Children say women and children are arriving in the Balkans with blue lips, exhausted mothers telling aid workers they cannot keep their babies warm and dry.

 

On our own border with France lie shanty towns that should shame our two proud nations. An epidemic of scabies and bronchitis in the Calais Jungle. And families in flimsy tents in the Dunkirk mud in conditions aid workers say are worse than they have seen in conflict and disaster zones anywhere in the world.

In Europe. On our doorstep.

 

CHECKS AND SECURITY

Nor are there systems in place to manage this.

In Greece proper registration and security checks still aren’t happening. 

In Calais and Dunkirk thousands of people aren’t being assessed at all. 

No one has any idea how many are refugees in need of urgent sanctuary and support, and how many have safe homes to return to, where immigration rules need to be enforced.

And no one has any idea how many children there are or where they go.

Europol says 10,000 child refugees have just disappeared in Europe.

Imagine it. 10,000 children – that’s like every child in Pontefract or Castleford and no one knows where they have gone.

Probably into the arms of criminal gangs – traffickers, drug and prostitution rings, exploitation and slavery.

One aid worker told me teenage boys were being given discounts by smugglers if they agreed to carry drugs or weapons. 

 

Lack of checks and controls makes this easy for organised crime to exploit. Gangs making millions profiting from desperation, preying on the vulnerable. Petty criminals taking their chance amidst the disorder. Concentrated groups of young men, sexually harassing and assaulting women. Lawless spaces – like the Calais Jungle – providing no protection against violence or sexual abuse.

 

Extremists and terrorists can exploit this too – just as one did in the Paris attacks, hiding among refugees as he travelled back from Syria to France. It is too easy for more to do the same.

 

The security threat as well as the humanitarian crisis is going to get worse this year unless we act.

 

STABILITY

And it is hardly surprising that public anxiety is growing. 

Across the continent many people have shown huge support for refugees.

On Lesbos northern shore I met Spanish lifeguards, Dutch paramedics, Palestinian doctors, French nurses, Swedish aid workers ready with food and dry clothes – all volunteering to save the lives of fellow human beings.

Across Britain, amazing volunteers, communities and faith groups are raising sponsorship, donating clothes, sending vans of provisions to Calais and finding ways to help.

But plenty of people are also getting worried.

By lack of checks or controls

By pictures of crowds, not knowing how many there are, where they will go, or where it will stop.

By the Paris attacks

By the Cologne assaults

By a growing fear that this is out of control or too hard to solve

Many people believe we have a moral responsibility to help those fleeing conflict and persecution. But they want reassurance that Governments have a grip. They are troubled that there doesn’t seem to be a plan. 

 

And the far right is exploiting that fear. 

At a time when many people already feel insecure as living standards have fallen. Already many had already become anxious about changes to their communities and the pace of immigration. Politics had already started fracturing and the seeds of rising nationalism had already been sown.

 

All across Europe, far right, anti-immigration or nationalist parties are on the rise.

Pegida and the AfD are polling at record levels in Germany

The National Front at record levels in France

In Sweden and Denmark far right parties have won seats in Parliament

In Poland and Hungary they run the Government

 

And back here in Britain, UKIP and Eurosceptics are playing on fear to push us out of Europe altogether.

 

 

Across Europe, politics feels deeply unstable. And this will have real consequences for democracy that we cannot just wish away. But more importantly community cohesion under threat as racism, hatred and violence are increasing too.

 

EU REFORM

 

And Europe’s institutions aren’t yet doing enough to rise to the challenge.

 

Old ways of operating are too slow

Old rules such as Schengen and Dublin aren’t working.

Old assumptions about shared values undermined as countries disagree on the right approach

Eastern and Western Europe divided

Germany – and Angela Merkel - out on a limb

Greece seen as a weak link

Britain trying to go it alone

 

The stakes are high.

Fail to manage the humanitarian crisis this year and thousands more people will suffer, thousands more will drown, thousands more children will disappear.

 

Fail to increase security checks and border controls and it will be easier for criminals and extremists to exploit the crisis and bring us all harm.

Fail to get a grip and instability in Europe will grow.  And who will know where that will lead?

 

Three years ago at a Shadow Home Secretary security briefing from MI5, they said to me at the end of the meeting, “You need to understand Syria. It’s going to affect everything you have to deal with. It’s going to change everything.”

At the time they were talking mainly about young Brits being radicalised. But they were more right than any of us knew.

From the failed Arab Spring to the rise of Daesh to Russian support for Assad to the fleeing of refugees and the terrorist threat.

And who knows where it ends. With the United Kingdom leaving Europe – then losing Scotland too? With Greece being forced out? With far right parties rising across a continent? With the fracturing and dividing of the entire European Union?

EU NEEDS REFORM

 

But of course it doesn’t have to be like this.

This is not beyond us. We have faced greater challenges on our continent before.

The one million people who have arrived make up just 0.2% of our combined European population – and it is still less than the regular, legal migration into the continent from the rest of the world each year.

But we do need action and not drift.

Solving the refugee crisis in Europe means championing our humanity, our security and our stability all at the same time.

We need both compassion and order.

Both sanctuary and borders.

Open borders won’t work – we can’t do security checks, maintain stability and order.

But nor will it work for countries to abandon our common humanity and refuse to help refugees.

It wont work if countries try to go it alone – be it Germany promising sanctuary to all or Hungary trying to send everyone home.

We need a comprehensive plan not tinkering at the edges. And it needs to have international support.

 

Most important is to tackle the cause of the crisis – with the strongest possible pressure from across the globe on Russia to stop civilian bombing, to get the Syrian peace process back on track, and put humanitarian protection at the heart of the talks.

 

This looks really hard right now – but we can’t let up. And there should be similar diplomatic initiatives to address the flow of refugees from Afghanistan and Eritrea.

 

Britain is right to lead the way on international aid, jobs and schools for the Levant where most of the refugees want to stay and where there is greatest chance of them returning home. The London Conference will make a real difference if the pledges are delivered.

 

More still needs to be done with Turkey to stop people setting off on dangerous journeys in the first place or passing through if they are not refugees.

 

And the whole of the world should be taking more refugees. Canada has, but the US has taken too few and other nations should also do their part.

 

But within Europe itself we also need much more substantial and urgent reform.

 

First we need proper security checks, faster asylum assessments and stronger borders to stop trafficking gangs. Politicians say the words about registration and hotsposts in Greece but it isn’t happening and it’s only a matter of weeks until many more people start to come.

 

Schengen was designed for another age and Europe’s Governments should stop trying to save it. Expecting Greece and Italy to deliver all the security, smuggling, immigration and asylum checks for an entire continent is impossible.

 

Each country needs to know how many people have arrived and who they are, whether their own citizens have gone to Syria to join Daesh and whether or where they have tried to return.

 

And we need to protect children. From Italy alone 4,000 child refugees have disappeared – but the Italian authorities have no idea whether to look for them locally or whether they are long gone, because there are no border checks

 

Too many European elites are clinging onto Schengen as a shibboleth. There are far more important things they should be fighting for than the freedom not to have your passport checked as you travel from Germany to France.

 

Second all European countries need to offer sanctuary, not just some. Just 400 out of the promised 160,000 refugees have been relocated from Italy and Greece.

 

Some suggest Europe shouldn’t take refugees at all. But how can we expect Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon to do so much if we do nothing. Just because we can’t help everyone doesn’t mean we should help no one.

 

The right kind of refugee programme can actually help challenge the radicalisation and security threat from Daesh within Europe too. Syrian refugees in Britain are already working with the police to persuade British Muslims not to get drawn in or take their families to a war zone

 

Daesh want people to believe that they are the caliphate where Muslims should run from Western persecution. If instead the West is giving sanctuary to Muslim refugees who fleeing Daesh persecution that undermines their poisonous propaganda and recruitment.

 

Third we need EU budget reform so that more of the budget goes directly to help refugees and those countries most heavily affected. Greece urgently needs more support, the EU help needs to double.

 

Fourth we need to develop a proper strategy of stronger enforcement to stop dangerous, illegal routes from Turkey alongside developing safe, legal ways to apply for sanctuary in Europe instead. The two things have to go hand in hand to pull the profits from the smuggler gangs.

 

And fifth we need a serious integration plan. Many of those given temporary sanctuary will want to return home to rebuild their countries as the Bosnian refugees did many years ago. But while they are here they are our neighbours – and that also means they need to respect the values, culture and laws of the country that has welcomed them in.

 

 

BRITAIN – WHY THE EUROSCEPTICS ARE WRONG

 

Europe must act to tackle the problem.

But here in Britain, the Eurosceptics instead argue that the refugee crisis is more reason to pull out of Europe altogether.

 

That’s nonsense and dangerous.

 

For a start, Brexit won’t magic away the refugee crisis or keep it further from our shores. Quite the opposite.

 

This is a Syrian driven crisis, not one of Europe’s making. Refugees who have family in Britain or speak good English will keep trying to come here whether we are in the EU or out.

 

We’re already out of the Schengen zone so Brexit won’t strengthen border checks. But senior French officials have told me the political pressure they are under to ditch the Calais arrangement.

So I agree with David Cameron and former British Ambassador to Paris, Sir Peter Ricketts that our borders could end up back at Dover. More importantly we would lose vital cooperation – through Europol, information sharing and the European Arrest Warrant - to stop traffickers and extremists exploiting the crisis to threaten our security.

 

Faced with a crisis that crosses borders, unilateralism just won’t work.

 

If we want to prevent people ending up in the mud in Calais in the first place, we need the French, the Italians, the Greeks to check people’s asylum claims along the way. If we want to get Turkey to prevent traffickers sending so many people to a watery grave, Britain can’t do that alone. We need pressure and support from the whole of Europe.

 

BUT WHY CAMERON IS WRONG TOO

 

But here’s where I disagree with the Prime Minister.

 

David Cameron’s strategy on the refugee crisis is to refuse to engage with Europe at all. He’s happy to support aid to the region and under pressure he’s agreed to limited sanctuary for refugees from Syrian camps. But he won’t work with Europe on the problems across the Channel. And he panders to the far right with his rhetoric about swarms of migrants in Calais, and his refusal to separate refugees from immigration

 

And that won’t work. It just makes it harder to get the EU reforms that we in Britain will need, harder to get changes to Schengen or the French to act on Calais. And it won’t win the argument against the Eurosceptics either.

 

Because as long as there is growing disorder in Europe over refugees, the Eurosceptics will be able to play on people’s fears. As long as we fail to sort Calais, more people will think the answer is to pull out altogether.

 

Instead Britain should be showing leadership in Europe arguing for reform and a comprehensive plan.

 

And the Prime Minster also needs to separate immigration and asylum. People in Britain are concerned about immigration and I think more changes will be needed. But that’s different from refugees, and it doesn’t help the debate on refugees or the EU by confusing the two.

 

 

BRITAIN SHOULD HELP REFUGEES

 

And yes. That means Britain needs to take more refugees too. From Europe as well as from the region.

 

Taking 4,000 people a year from the camps near Syria as the Prime Minister has promised is simply not enough.

 

Last summer I said that if every city and county too just ten families we could help 10,000 people very quickly. Many councils, communities, faith groups came forward and offered to help. Some have accommodation and support ready in place. But they are still waiting for the Government to bring refugees in. We should ask them how much more they can do and we should start with those with family here in Britain.

 

And we should act swiftly to help children – starting with Lord Alf Dubs’ amendment to help 3000 lone child refugees in Europe that will be voted on in the House of Lords in a few weeks’ time.

 

Alf came to Britain as a child of the Kinder transport over 70 years ago – it saved him from the holocaust. Now he is asking us to help to help a new generation of child refugees. 

 

And here’s why it matters.

 

A court case brought by Citizens UK a few weeks ago decided that three teenage refugees whose closest family are in Britain can join relatives who will look after them while their asylum cases are heard, rather than having to wait all alone in Calais.

 

However one teenager’s case was not successful. His name was Masud, from Afghanistan and he was trying to join his sister, a British citizen in London.

The reason his case failed was because before his case made it to court his body was found. He suffocated to death in the back of a lorry. He didn’t wait for the court case. He was fifteen. He had no one to stop him taking risks. That’s what teenagers do.

 

A teenage boy’s body in a lorry

A little girl’s body on a beach

We can’t keep standing by while children die, while children drown or while children disappear.

 

 

Time now to do as Alf Dubs asks and draw on those same values that stood us in good stead generations ago.

The same values on which we in Britain helped build European cooperation after the Holocaust.

When we, Britain, worked to establish the council of Europe, the European convention, the partnership between France and Germany that started the Common Market and led to the EU in the first place

Winston Churchill didn’t call for isolationism, unilateralism or narrow nationalism when he said we needed European cooperation through which people could “dwell in peace, safety and freedom.”

 

Today’s Syrian refugee crisis is not beyond us to cope with. We’ve faced tougher challenges before

 

Rebuilding Europe after two world wars

Reuniting a continent after decades of cold war

Restoring peace to the Balkans

Resettling refugees

Defending democracy and human rights

Standing in solidarity with all those fleeing persecution

Building stability and security together

For “peace, safety and freedom” once again.

 

ENDS

Yvette Cooper MP: Speech to RUSI on 'The Refugee Crisis and Europe'

***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY*** Yvette Cooper, Chair of the Refugee Taskforce, speech to the Royal United Services Institute on ‘The Refugee Crisis and Europe’ 10th February, 2016

Responding to John McDonnell's comments on the Sunday Politics about the future of national borders, Yvette Cooper MP said:

"Border checks are really important for managing the refugee crisis - including stopping trafficking gangs, protecting child refugees who are disappearing in Europe, making sure proper asylum assessments take place so refugees get swift help and preventing people from travelling illegally if they are not refugees and have a safe home to return to. 

"We need a system of clear border controls alongside sanctuary for refugees to cope with the terrible humanitarian crisis we face - that is why the Schengen system in Europe isn't working any more and many countries are rightly re-introducing border checks.

"At a time of extremist and terrorist threats, countries also need strong border checks for example to stop their own citizens going to join ISIL, or to prevent terrorists, extremists or criminals travelling with guns or weapons. And of course governments need to be able to manage and enforce immigration rules in the interests of the country and the economy.

"Labour needs to maintain a policy in favour of firm and effective border controls alongside help for refugees. I also disagree with John McDonnell about what will happen in the coming decades. Given the challenges we face, proper border checks are likely to become more important not less in future."

 

ENDS

Yvette's response to comments about the future of borders

Responding to John McDonnell's comments on the Sunday Politics about the future of national borders, Yvette Cooper MP said:


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