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Gavin speaks out on refugee crisis in the House of Commons

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has today spoken during a debate in the House of Commons on the ‘Resettlement of Syrian Refugees – calling on the UK Government to change tact and offer sanctuary to more refugees.

The Renfrewshire MP spoke about the warm welcome that many people throughout Renfrewshire gave to Syrian refugees who were being resettled in our communities – but reiterated his view that the UK must accept more refugees and that we, as a society, should tackle the scourge of racist or xenophobic attitudes espoused by an extreme minority.

During the debate in Westminster Hall, Mr Newlands told MPs:

“I am immensely proud of how my constituents responded to the refugee crisis – opening up their arms to the refugees. Local people in Renfrewshire collected donations, opened shops, travelled to Calais and did anything and everything in their power to help those in need.

“In turn, our Syrian neighbours have opened their doors and have been sharing Syrian food and culture with other local people. They have appreciated the beauty of Scotland we too appreciate their humility and hope – despite all that they have suffered, more than any of us can imagine, they now look ahead to a new life, are already making plans and are hopeful for their future.”

Gavin Newlands MP also highlighted the challenges we were still to overcome:

“These resettled families have been overwhelmed with warm welcomes; however, there still exists a small and vocal section of the population who did not show a welcoming and pleasant response to their arrival.

“My local newspaper, the Paisley Daily Express, ran a story on 19th November which highlighted some of the nasty and bigoted messages that had been posted on social media from people who stay in Paisley.

“I cannot commend my local newspaper enough for tackling this bigoted thinking. When we talk about the resettlement of Syrian refugees it is important to note that there still exists a small section of the population who we haven’t won over.

“Even though we should never allow the mindless bigoted social media posts to detract from the excellent work that the people of Renfrewshire have done to welcome our new Syrian neighbours into the town, we should however recognise that such attitudes still exist – and we must tackle them.

Speaking after the debate on Resettling Syrian Refugees, Mr Newlands said:

“I am proud that we have opened up our hearts, our homes and our communities to the men, women and children who have fled the extreme terror and tyranny that has engulfed their home of Syria with nearly nothing but the clothes on their backs.

“By granting the Syrian people safe refuge in Scotland and Renfrewshire, we continue our strong tradition of providing sanctuary to those in mortal danger – like people who fled the tyranny of the Nazis or the terror of genocide across the world in past years and decades. It was the right thing to do then and it is the right thing to do now.

“With the UK now carrying out military intervention in Syria, we now have an onus and a responsibility to take more Syrian families caught up in this dreadful conflict. We simply cannot shirk our duty our waver from our commitment to these people. We can, we should and we must do more – and I call on the UK Government to step up and pledge to offer sanctuary to more Syrians.”.

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