I find it fascinating to follow a number of the MPs and members of the House of Lords whenever Parliament is active. Inevitably we don’t get many returns to Parliament in the Summer but when we do it is something that people can spend many days reviewing afterwards. One of the members of the House of Lords is John Roger Roberts who is a significant Methodist person and he regularly states very clear comments that explain what needs to bring change in our nation. Here are his words that he stated on Tuesday in the debate on the theme of Afghanistan.
My Lords, we have seen clearly from this debate that we will have to look again at our immigration policy—but not according to the new Bill that is going through the other House at the moment, which is completely opposed to every sentiment expressed in this debate.
How able is the United Kingdom to accept and proceed with 5,000 new applications? We know that, already, the Home Office has a queue of people waiting for approval, or for their applications to at least be processed. Surely we cannot let this queue grow on and on. We have to look again at what we intend to do with the present and proposed immigration procedures.
I also suggest that, in accepting people here, we must make the most of what they are able to contribute. Already, we know that we are going to get a lot of interpreters—I am delighted to have them; they can help us proceed with those 5,000-plus, I hope, applications in the first year. They have a contribution to make. We must be ready to train our staff also. Have we got enough new staff in the Home Office to cope with all these new arrivals, not only from Afghanistan but from Hong Kong and other places?
We have to look again, and clearly we need a complete revision of what has, on the whole, been a hostile attitude towards immigration and new immigrants. I remember I did a fair bit of work on Syrian immigration, and I was so disappointed in the way that the Government responded to the need at that time. I hope this will not be repeated with the needs of the Afghan people.
Let us hope that in due course our Parliament can reverse the appalling approach that the Government is currently intending to do to prevent asylum seekers from being accepted into our nation.