Unicef UK and others have long campaigned on a number of issues in this area, including reuniting refugee children with family members in the UK and ensuring that overseas aid continues to be focused on fighting poverty. I agree that these issues are important and know that they will be of concern to many people in our area.
On child refugees, I believe we must uphold the spirit of international law and our moral obligations by taking our fair share. In fact, at the recent General Election the Labour manifesto pledged to produce a cross-departmental strategy to meet our international obligations on the refugee crisis within the first 100 days of government. Unfortunately Labour did not win the election.
I know that Unicef is calling for UK immigration rules to be widened to allow refugee children to be reunited with extended family in the UK and to ensure that safe and legal routes are available to those children. I have long supported a review of the refugee family reunion rules, including options for extending the criteria for family reunion.
On overseas aid, UK development assistance has improved hundreds of millions of people’s lives, including supporting 11 million children through school and helping to immunise 67.1 million children against preventable diseases. These achievements should be a source of pride for everyone in the UK. I therefore agree that it is vital that we continue to meet the target of spending 0.7% of our gross national income on overseas aid and that aid continues to focus on ending poverty.
The Labour manifesto at the 2017 General Election pledged to promote a development agenda based on redistribution, social justice and reducing poverty. I believe that we must continue to abide by international definitions of official development assistance.
I will continue to work in this Parliament to ensure a safer, more prosperous world for every child and their family.