Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Opposition to Britain taking more refugees almost DOUBLES to 49%

  • Charter plane of Syrian refugees landed at Glasgow Airport this afternoon
  • Around 100 people from refugee camps will now be resettled across the UK
  • 1,000 due to arrive by Christmas as part of plan to welcome 20,000 by 2020
  • Tory MPs urged Theresa May to reassure public concerned about security
  • One MP said: 'Make sure they are genuine asylum seekers, not terrorists'
Public opposition to Britain welcome Syrian refugees has surged dramatically in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, it emerged today.

Almost half of voters now say the UK should accept fewer or no Syrians at all, up from around a quarter in early September.

It comes as the first charter flight bringing Syrian refugees to Britain landed in Glasgow last night, with Tory MPs urging ministers to make sure they are 'genuine asylum seekers and not terrorists'.

Almost half of voters now say the UK should accept fewer or no Syrians at all, up from around a quarter in early September
Almost half of voters now say the UK should accept fewer or no Syrians at all, up from around a quarter in early September

First plane carrying Syrian refugees arrives in Glasgow, UK
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Calls have grown for Europe to tighten border controls after one of the Paris killers allegedly sneaked into France by posing as a refugee after being rescued from a sinking migrant boat.
David Cameron yesterday praised Glasgow's response in welcoming the first refugees, adding: 'I'm confident they will be well looked after.'

The government has promised to accept 1,000 refugees from Syria by Christmas and 20,000 by 2020. 

However, a new YouGov poll for The Times shows public support for opening the doors has slumped.

But concern about the security impact of refugees arriving in Britain and Europe has surged in the wake of the Paris attacks.  

Tory MP Oliver Colvile said the government must 'make sure they are genuine asylum seekers, not terrorists, and that younger asylum seekers are not radicalised'.

Steve Double, Conservative MP for St Austell and Newquay, said voters were 'very concerned' about the impact of offering to take in refugees.

He added: 'It is clear that as a country we face a growing tension between our desire to be compassionate and welcome those who are genuinely fleeing the violence in Syria and our own safety and security. 

Yvette Cooper, who is leading Labour's response to the refugee crisis, yesterday voiced concern about security checks.

She said ISIS wants to 'exploit the refugee crisis and to poison Europe’s attitude towards those who are fleeing the very same barbarism that we saw, so tragically, on the streets of Paris'. 

She said she was 'concerned' that proper registration was not happening in Greece and called on the government to 'ensure that we provide the security and humanitarian aid that is desperately needed, and Britain and Europe can support both our security and our solidarity with desperate refugees'.

Mr Cameron told MPs: 'We must not confuse migration and terrorism, but we need to be clear that proper border controls and checks are necessary to make sure that the people who come to our country do not threaten us. 

'Taking Syrian refugees from the camps enables us to carry out the checks before they take off.'

A plane, believed to be carrying about 100 people from camps surrounding the war-torn Middle East state, landed at Glasgow Airport at 3.40pm yesterday as part of the government's resettlement scheme.

Several more special flights will arrive at airports around Britain in the coming months. 
The UK has opted out of an EU scheme to relocate tens of thousands of people who have already reached Europe, instead taking them directly from camps in Syria and neighbouring countries. 

UK ministers insist that there is a two-stage process of screening in place to try to catch potential fanatics before they are allowed to settle in the UK.

The UN refugee agency, which refers people to Britain, using biometric screening, interviews and document checks. The UK Home Office then carries out further biometrics and security checks.

The refugees arriving in Britain yesterday, many of whom have been described as vulnerable having stayed in camps for up to four years, were transported by plane from Beirut in Lebanon to the UK.

They are now expected to be resettled by local authorities across the country, including in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverclyde and North Ayrshire.

The refugees remained airside after landing at the airport and did not pass through the arrivals hall. 

They will be given housing, legal protection, access to employment, education and expert medical care as part of the vulnerable persons resettlement scheme (VPR). After five years they can apply to remain in the UK.

Downing Street refused to specify how many refugees had arrived today but said they had undergone 'rigorous' security checks before boarding the plane.

A spokesman said it would be 'reasonable to assume' the refugees would go to areas within a 'reasonable radius' of Glasgow.

Following the arrival of the refugees, Humza Yousaf - Scottish Minister for Europe and International Development – described it as a 'proud day' for Scotland.

He said: 'I would like to extend the warmest of welcomes on behalf of the people of Scotland to the Syrian refugees who have arrived in Glasgow, and wish them all the best as they are supported to start their new lives here.

'These people have fled terror and tyranny and are some of the most vulnerable among those affected by conflict in Syria.

'They have arrived directly from refugee camps and we have been working closely with the Home Office who have robust and thorough security screening processes in place.
'They will now travel to a number of communities across Scotland.

'The practical offers of support from ordinary people across Scotland who want to help alleviate the suffering of the vulnerable people caught up in this humanitarian emergency has been overwhelming.' 

The Scottish Refugee Council said today it had been 'overwhelmed' by the number of Scots offering to help Syrians.

Gary Christie, head of communications, said: 'Over the last few months we've been overwhelmed by the way people in Scotland have responded to the crisis facing refugees.

'Thousands have offered rooms in their homes, time, skills and money to help refugees settle in Scotland.

'This goodwill and the sense that people from all walks of life are pulling together and ready to do what they can to help refugees will be crucial in helping the new Syrian families feel human again and begin to see and achieve a future for themselves in their new home.'

One man who is seeking protection in the UK and volunteering at Scottish Refugee Council said: 'To be a refugee is not a choice; it is a decision based on our human instinct to survive and we should never lose sight of that.

'No one wants to be a refugee. I wish I was in Syria, in my home town, with my wife and family.
'Scotland like Syria is a beautiful country, but not one of us can be reduced to one single thing and I am no different.'

Meanwhile, Dr Teresa Piacentini said Syrian refugees arriving in Scotland can expect a largely positive welcome and the local authorities taking them in are up to the 'massive' challenge of meeting their needs.

The sociologist at the University of Glasgow said there is a political will across Scotland from the 'top-down and bottom-up' to help those coming to the UK from refugee camps.

She said that while there has been a 'waning' in some respects of public support for refugees in the last couple of months, 'overwhelmingly the welcome will be positive'.

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