The situation in Afghanistan is beyond heart-breaking. The images of people clinging desperately to departing planes are etched into my mind. The UK must act now, in collaboration with the international community, to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis.
I have already made several interventions on this issue over the past 48 hours, but my current priority is working on numerous cases involving Putney constituents and connected family members who are stuck in the region. My team and I are working tirelessly to help get these people to a place of safety and sanctuary. I have called on the Government to do all it can to tackle this humanitarian crisis – including providing more clarity on the waiving of visa restrictions for the families of UK nationals. If you know of any constituents from Putney, Roehampton or Southfields that are affected, please do pass on my email address and encourage them to make contact.
Ahead of the recall of parliament today, I urgently tabled a number of parliamentary questions to the Secretary of State for Defence, the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Affairs urging the Government to strengthen and expand the Afghan Interpreters Scheme alongside working with the international community to create safe routes of passage for those seeking asylum.
I have also been liaising with international charities and NGOs, ahead of today’s debate, to ensure their concerns and experiences from the front line are relayed clearly and directly to Ministers.
I would also like to emphasise the role our dedicated service women and men have played, particularly those who have remained there to support the evacuation. Their bravery is truly humbling.
One thing is clear: we must not turn our backs on the people of Afghanistan. We cannot allow the hard-won rights of women and girls to evaporate overnight, nor should we abandon the brave people and their families who risked their lives to help our armed forces. The Government must take steps to ensure aid can reach those in need to prevent further human suffering.
If you are looking for ways to support, please do consider joining Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees: www.wandsworthwelcomesrefugees.org