"Heartless" councils like Manchester forced to take more refugees under new Lib Dems plans

The Liberal Democrats have passed a comprehensive motion laying out plans to welcome more refugees fleeing conflict, at their Autumn conference in Brighton today.


Speaking in favour, Manchester's Opposition Leader John Leech, praised the measures for forcing the hand of "heartless" councils like Manchester.

Critically, the motion relaxed key legislation to make it easier for those seeking refuge in the UK, abolished the net migration target and the hostile environment policy, which was introduced in 2014 to enormous controversy.

In 2016 John Leech sensationally uncovered that Manchester Council was refusing to accept a single Syrian refugee, including lone children. He

In a passionate and emotional speech, John Leech, who was one of just 18 MPs to vote against the Hostile Environment (2014 Anti-Immigration Act), said: 

"The 2014 Act was not just divisive and dehumanising but it was a catastrophic lapse in judgement and this motion is a small step forward in righting some unforgivable wrongs.

"But there is still so much more we need to be doing to look after the most vulnerable.

"In places like Manchester, Labour have a sickening attitude towards refugees,
 and despite my demands, they have indefinitely turned their backs on the biggest refugee crisis we've ever faced.

"In the years since the Syrian conflict began, Manchester has only taken desperate refugees, including children, in single numbers and it's simply not good enough.

"Together we can force the hand of heartless councils like Manchester and face up to our duty."

The motion also called for the closure of eight immigration detention centres, a new policy of ‘detention as last resort' and rights to work whilst a case is being considered.

It recommended significant support for school projects that educate students about the history of migration into the UK, introduce a national strategy to promote the teaching of English as a second language (ESOL) and develop a migrants’ languages strategy to reap economic benefits from the diasporas living in the UK.

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