We have all been shocked by the heart breaking images which emerged last week of children dying in their bid to escape the horrific situation in Syria.
I know many constituents in Romsey and Southampton North have differing views on what should be done to help refugees, but I have received an overwhelming level of correspondence from constituents asking about the response by the UK Government. I am pleased to see the Government has listened to the British people and is acting to ensure the UK helps more refugees, in a safe and responsible way.
The Government plans to accept 20,000 more refugees over the next five years. These refugees will come straight from the camps in the Middle East, to discourage families from making the perilous journeys which have ended in such undignified tragedy. Additionally, the UK has already pledged one billion pound in aid to the humanitarian effort, with £60m of additional funding going toward helping people still in Syria.
Whatever our views on immigration, I know we can all agree that no child, regardless of race or religion, should live in fear of their own government as they must in Syria. Equally, they should not grow up in fear of persecution due to their religious beliefs as many do in areas cut off by the curtain of fundamentalism.
However, the humanitarian act of resettling refugees cannot solve this complex problem. The tyrannical regime of Bashir Al-Assad in Syria, the butchery of ISIL and the unconscionable criminals involved in the nefarious trade in children and families are issues on which the UK must take a tough stance.
It is heart-warming to hear from so many constituents who want to help in some way and I know Romsey Abbey are collecting many items from tents to shoes and food. A full list of items, of which the Abbey is in desperate need, is available on their Facebook page.
September 2nd 2015
I regularly receive invitations to take part in interesting events and I was delighted to be asked to officially witness the world record attempt for the largest game of rounders on Sunday at the Outdoor Sports Centre in Southampton. The game was made up of seventy nine players aged between seven and seventy, from across the city and was an excellent example of energetic, participatory sport.
It is now up to Guinness World Records to verify the attempt, however I think for those who took part the day was a triumph either way. Team Phoenix Cheerleaders were also on hand to put on a fantastic display for the many spectators who came to watch this exciting event.
Coincidentally the Sikh community were holding a youth event at the same location. I have long admired the community for their inclusivity and determination to foster good relations with all sectors of the wider community. It was great to see so many children enjoying the sports on offer.
On Tuesday I was delighted to attend the rededication of the Romsey Methodist Church and meet the new Minister, Revd Gareth Pack. Romsey has such a vibrant faith community the positive effects of which are seen regularly around the town.
Sunday 6th September the Romsey Food Festival returns with a diverse range of produce for sale. Events like this are excellent, not only because of the wonderful selection of food on offer, but also because of the vast numbers of people the festival brings into our town.
I am looking forward to returning to Westminster next week where I shall be meeting with a number of organisations and constituents. In particular I hope to see patients and staff from University Hospital Southampton at an event for National Transplant Week.
On Saturday I will be holding my monthly drop-in surgery at Burgess Road Library in Southampton between 09:30 and 11:00, no appointment is necessary.