My views on Syria are well-known.
News that the UK Government is to quadruple the aid it provides to refugees fleeing the fighting in Syria is welcome.
As the defection of the Syrian PM makes clear, there is a full-scale civil war going on in Syria. Every bit as fierce as the uprising in Libya last year.
So my question is this. Why aren’t the UK Government making special arrangements for Syrian migrants currently in the UK who wish to extend their leave?
The UK Border Agency made special provisions for Libyan nationals in 2011, stating that discretion would be exercised for Libyan nationals who were unable to meet the requirements of the immigration rules for extension of stay and yet were unable to return home due to the conflict.
As of yet, Syrian visitors have not been given the same treatment. I have been contacted by the Syrian community in Manchester who are rightly concerned that Syrian visitors will be sent home to face a civil war.
We should not be forcing Syrians to return home until the conflict is resolved. The UK Government needs to provide support not only to those fleeing the conflict abroad, but to those being sent back to the conflict from the UK as well.