Published Thursday 19 August
I attended yesterday’s (18 August) recall debate and I was horrified by the lack of leadership by this Tory Government and their failure to prepare for this crisis. I and the communities across Sheffield Heeley wanted to hear a full and detailed plan from this Prime Minister about how he and his government plan to resettle refugees, get aid to all those that need it, tackle the financing of the Taliban, develop sanctions and protect the human rights of women and girls. We heard none of that.
I’m deeply concerned that the government’s commitment to take 5,000 refugees is hugely insufficient, especially as we don’t yet know the full scale of the crisis, and they have a track record of not fulfilling their commitments, just look at their record on the child refugee scheme.
In this moment we need true leadership and determination. For now, by working with the USA, Kabul airport is secure. We must use this time to accelerate efforts to get UK nationals and eligible Afghans out of the country safely and ensure that there are safe and secure routes to the airport. This opportunity must not be squandered, lives are at stake.
As people are driven from their homes in the most desperate circumstances, the UK must always and will always stand with those seeking safety.
Published Tuesday 17 August
The situation in Afghanistan is absolutely heart-breaking. People around the world are looking on in horror as we see all the progress, especially for women and girls under Afghani rule, being unpicked and regressed by the Taliban. The UN are already warning that Human Rights abuses are taking place and we have evidence of how the Taliban have previously treated women and girls, denying them access to education, full participation in political life and stoning women who commit sins under Sharia law.
But what happens to the Afghan people is not inevitable; the UK Government has a role to play in showing leadership through the G7 to drive action on refugees, aid, sanctions and disrupting the financing of the Taliban.
The lack of decency, generosity and urgency from our government has put lives at risk and they must set out clearly how they are going to ensure that the enormous sacrifice that has been made has not been in vain.
I can’t imagine how hard it must be for Veterans who have served in Afghanistan and for the families who lost loved ones in this conflict, now having to sit back and watch the Taliban so swiftly take control. My own constituents have been in touch over the last few days as they’ve seen the unfolding situation in Afghanistan and are telling me that they feel angry and betrayed. This is a dire consequence of failed Leadership. This government need to step in and demonstrate to all veterans that their sacrifices were worthwhile.
Tomorrow, in Parliament, I want to hear a full and detailed plan from the Prime Minister about how he and his government plan to resettle refugees, especially those who have served British forces, who have stepped forward and taken on public roles and those who are suffering violence and intimidation from the Taliban. It must at least match the commitment of the resettlement programme for Syrians in 2015. I want a detailed plan on restoring aid and how we’ll be working with our International Partners, particularly those in the region to allow aid in, and a plan about how we’ll work with the International Community to hold the Taliban to account on all commitments they made in the deal they signed with America.
In this moment we need true leadership and determination to accelerate efforts to get UK nationals and eligible Afghans out of the country safely.
I will continue to work to support my communities and ensure they have what they need to get their families and friends out of this terrifying situation.