08 March 2017

Greg Hands votes to prevent exposure of government's child refugees lie

Greg Hands, MP for Chelsea & Fulham, who is a minister, has voted to cover up the truth about the government and child refugees.

Last year, after pressure from Labour peer Lord Dubs, the government agreed to resettle refugee children travelling alone who had no family in the UK. This was expected to mean 3,000 children.

Yet last week, the government disgracefully announced that the programme would close after only 350 unaccompanied youngsters had been brought to Britain from other European countries. 

The government tried to justify its cruel action by claiming that local authorities didn't have the capacity. But a report by the home affairs select committee on Monday found this wasn't true. 

The report quoted H&F's own Labour leader Stephen Cowan:
"The oral evidence we heard from the Local Government Association and from the Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Cllr Stephen Cowan, cast some doubt on how thorough the consultation undertaken by the Home Office to establish the capacity of local authorities to take more migrant children had been. It was suggested that up to a further 4,000 places might be made available by local authorities if additional central funding could be provided. Councillor Cowan told us: 'If I talk to council leaders across London, there is certainly extra capacity'"
Andy Elvin, chief executive of the Adolescent and Children's Trust, was even more straightforward:
"This is a lie; there is no other way to describe this egregious attempt to blame local authorities for a decision that has been wholly made in the Home Office, which has made no reasonable effort to examine what capacity there is in the system."

So this week, some MPs tried to expose the truth and help child refugees by seeking a change in the law to require councils to detail their capacity to resettle children, including unaccompanied refugee children.

This would have shown up the government's lie. Perhaps it is no surprise that the MP for Chelsea & Fulham voted against

What is more surprising is that this is the same Greg Hands who in September 2015 tweeted this:
"Strong words from @George_Osborne on the refugee crisis: UK will do even more to help refugees."
A case of watch what the man does, not what he says.

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