Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott raised the issue of Jewish people living under threat in Yemen and urged government to help. Tories later killed off the move and declined to offer help
In 2010, Jews still living in Yemen were under severe threat and were suffering serious persecution. Orthodox Jews living in then-back bencher Diane Abbott’s London constituency approached her and fellow back bencher Jeremy Corbyn for help.
In response, Abbott and Corbyn co-sponsored a parliamentary motion that February demanding that the government – then still Gordon Brown’s Labour government – take urgent steps to help the threatened Yemeni community:
Of the thirty-one MPs who signed the motion, only one was a Tory.
Unforgivably, the Tories then ignored the motion after winning the 2010 general election and no action was taken.
More than seven years later, the plight of Jewish Yemenis was even worse – as a result of the civil war that has devastated the country since 2015. An MP put a written parliamentary question to the government to ask what measures the Tories were putting in place to help Jews living in the war-torn country,
The government’s answer was basically – nothing:
Then-immigration minister – and soon to be Tory party chairman – Brandon Lewis’ response made clear that there would be no help for the beleaguered community, essentially stating that they were on their own unless they could manage to get themselves to safety and even then would not be entitled to claim asylum:
There are safe and legal routes for people to come to the UK should they wish to join family members here, work or study. They would need to meet the requirements of the relevant Immigration Rule under which they were applying to qualify for a visa. Details about the criteria and how to apply are available on the GOV.UK website at: http://www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa.
However, there is no provision in the Immigration Rules for people to be allowed to travel to the UK to seek asylum. Those who need international protection should claim in the first safe country they reach – that is the fastest route to safety.
Those who have left Yemen and been recognised as refugees by UNHCR may be eligible for resettlement under one of our discretionary resettlement schemes: Gateway, Mandate or the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme which resettles at-risk children and their families living in Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan or Lebanon.
Yet more evidence of Jeremy Corbyn and his top team’s consistent efforts to help Jewish people – and of the Tories’ callousness and the racism of their immigration policies introduced by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary.
Yet the media portrayal of the relative merits of the two parties and their leaders has become an inversion of the situation the longstanding evidence represents.
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