A TORY MP has been urged to correct the official parliamentary record after wrongly claiming Glasgow is the only Scottish council to take part in the Syrian resettlement scheme.
Jack Brereton interrupted Ian Blackford, the SNP Westminster leader, during his speech in the Commons today to ask why his party were not sticking to their ‘rhetoric’ and urging more councils in Scotland to accept refugees.
Mr Brereton, MP for Stoke-on-Trent, said: “Given that only Glasgow has been the only city, and only authority in Scotland to be part of the resettlement scheme until now, will the SNP actually stick to their rhetoric and start putting forward other authority areas to be part of the resettlement scheme?”
However several Scottish MPs began berating Mr Brereton immediately, saying his claims were false.
Mr Blackford responded: “My goodness, I don’t think the gentleman’s actually be listening to anything we’ve been saying over the course of the last few days.
“The Scottish government stands ready to work with the UK Government…
“Let me tell the government benches that I want to make sure that every local authority in Scotland has the opportunity to take refugees from Afghanistan. And that is precisely the position of the government in Scotland, but it has to come with the government in London and the devolved administration’s working together, there has to be a summit of the four nations to discuss exactly how.”
Alan Brown, MP for Kilmarnock, later said the Tory’s claims were “rubbish”.
He said: “To correct the record, my local authority of east Ayrshire council has got Syrian refugees, [Brendan O’Hara MP] next to me is saying so does Argyll and Bute, and we know Dundee has, so that is utter nonsense from [Mr Brereton].”
Brendan O’Hara then shouted at the MP to “correct the record”.
Mr Blackford said: “I also know in my own area in Highland that we have refugees from Syria as well, and indeed they were most welcomed by the community.”
While the announcement of a UK resettlement scheme for Afghan refugees is welcome in principle, the commitment to 20,000 in ‘long term’ and just 5000 this year is woefully inadequate. I call on UK Gov to go further to meet its responsibilities. @scotgov ready to play full part
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) August 18, 2021
The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber added later that the UK Government should be planning for more than double the 20,000 refugees they have so far announced as expected to come to the UK.
He said the Afghan resettlement scheme “should have a minimum commitment of welcoming at least, 35,000 to 40,000 Afghan refugees in the UK, in line with the population share welcomed from Syria.
“3000 of these Syrian refugees have now made Scotland their new home. They have contributed to our economy and to our communities. They are Syrians, and they are now part of Scotland’s story. “They are our friends. They are our neighbours. It is only right that we can offer the same warmth and welcome to Afghan refugees facing the same dangerous and desperate situation.”
Glasgow councillor Jen Layden later said Mr Brereton’s claims were concerning.
All councils in Scotland have taken part in the Syrian Refugee Scheme. Glasgow is the only Scottish Local Authority that is an asylum dispersal area. Concerning that members of the UK government don’t know the difference https://t.co/u47Vl7fJxv
— Cllr Jen Layden (@JenLaydenSNP) August 18, 2021
She tweeted: “All councils in Scotland have taken part in the Syrian Refugee Scheme. Glasgow is the only Scottish Local Authority that is an asylum dispersal area. Concerning that members of the UK government don’t know the difference.”