Throughout my time as an MP, I have consistently made the case for the UK to do much more to assist vulnerable refugees. After the Brexit transition period runs out on 31 December, the UK’s participation in the Dublin regulation, which allows unaccompanied child refugees to legally move to a country where a close relative is staying, will come to an end. I voted in favour of protecting the rights for unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their family after Brexit. However, the government were able to use their majority to vote this amendment down.
The Government have since committed to seeking a reciprocal agreement with the EU on family reunion for unaccompanied children. However, I am concerned by a negotiating paper published in May which shows that the UK was offering only an arrangement in which one of the EU’s 27 member states “may request” the transfer of a child to join relatives with no obligation on the UK to accept it.
The Labour Party will hold the Government to account on this issue and will continue to press them to uphold its moral and legal obligations to child refugees and their families.