Many of you have written to ask that I urge the UK Government to do more to help the men, women and children trapped in the humanitarian nightmare we watch unfolding daily across Europe. Be in no doubt, I will do everything I can in this regard as will all my SNP colleagues.
I know that the subject of immigration is one that polarises opinion, but please let us put immigration to one side for a moment. This is not about immigration. This is a humanitarian crisis. This is about human beings who, fleeing persecution, are risking life and limb because the alternative is so much worse. No parent puts their child in grave danger if they can see another way. We cannot begin to understand the fear and desperation that has brought them to this situation but we can show friendship and empathy. We can make a difference.
This morning during a 5 Live Interview I was asked if I seriously thought that my constituents would support my views on welcoming refugees, ‘yes’ was my answer. I said this recognising that, although not the view of all, it is certainly the view of most and of that, I am very proud.
The people of Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey have shown nothing but compassion and kindness; offering their own homes, urging me to do what I can, while they do the same, on social media, with friends, in letters and in support.
By refusing to take its fair share of vulnerable migrants, the UK Government is turning its back on those in desperate need of help and, in turn, has contributed to the situation that has now developed. The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has already called on the UK Government to play its part in a humanitarian response and has added that Scotland will, of course, play a full part in this.
I wholeheartedly and passionately support these calls and have written to David Cameron to ask that he open the borders, set up a processing centre at Calais, give these human beings refugee status and let the kind hearts of Scotland and beyond welcome them with open arms.
Let’s take the lead from Sweden and Germany. Let’s respond with compassion and humanity. Let’s do what is right, what is necessary and restore faith in humanity.