POLITICS

Two British Children Write Heartfelt Plea To MPs To Take In 3,000 Child Refugees

'Euan and I are too young to vote...'

04/05/2016 10:45
Jack Hill/The Times/PA Wire

Two primary school children have written a heartfelt letter urging MPs to allow child refugees into the UK from Europe.

Niamh Gardiner, 8, and her brother Euan, 5, made their plea in a bid to get David Cameron and his Tory MPs to change their minds ahead of a crunch Commons vote next week.

The two children from Cardiff decided to get involved after following on CBBC’s Newsround the plight of the unaccompanied youngsters in European refugee camps.

Their father, Craig Gardiner told HuffPost UK that Niamh and Euan were particularly moved by the sight of children their own age and wanted to help.

After discussions with their local Baptist church and a friend who had worked with children in the Jungle camp in Calais, the decided to appeal directly to MPs to back the Alf Dubs amendment calling for the UK to allow in a set number of child refugees.

Carl Gardiner

Their letter to local Labour MP Jo Stevens praises her for voting to change Britain’s policy.

“My dad and I have been talking about the child refugees and the Alf Dubs amendment.  I am glad you voted to help them come to our country,” the letter reads.

“We think it is not fair for these children to have no home. We think that we should help in any way we can. My little brother Euan thinks that these people will be tired and hungry and he wants to help the 3,000 people too.

“Euan and I are too young to vote, but when we grow up we would choose an MP like you, to help them.

“We are going to send a copy of this letter to the other MPs to help them change their minds.  Thank you for reading this letter.

“Yours sincerely, Niamh and Euan Gardiner. Age 8 and 5.”

Darko Vojinovic/AP
A child refugee in a border station in Greece

Mr Gardiner told HuffPost UK that he hoped that 3,000 children could write similar letters to MPs – the same number as those who would be let into the UK under the Dubs plan.

“They were keen to write a few letters. They began with one of thanks to our own MP, Jo Stevens, who had voted for the amendment. We then copied that to the Prime-minister and a neighbouring Conservative MP asking them to change their minds.

“The children were initially annoyed that on an issue involving other suffering children they were too young to vote. But I was really proud of the way they took a positive approach to that, reminding the MPs that when they come of age they will choose someone who shows compassion.

“Until then they are going to keep writing. We then tweeted a photo of the letter to the various MPs. The children have been really impressed with the way Jo Stevens responded to them.

“It has engaged them in the democratic process from a young age and instilled a belief that they can make a difference. We are hoping they will not be disappointed.”

Katie Collins/PA Archive
Lord Dubs

Ms Stevens told HuffPost UK: "Niamh and Euan's letter to me is the perfect example of that old saying, 'out of the mouths of babes.'

“Their simple, heartfelt message to the Prime Minister and Cardiff's only Conservative MP that the Government should offer sanctuary to a small number of refugee children, sums up wider public opinion that he and the vast majority of Tory MPs have got this so badly wrong.

“So I say come on Prime Minister, it's not too late for you to listen to Niamh and Euan and change your mind. But if you don't, the reality is that it will be too late for many of these highly vulnerable children."

Home Office minister James Brokenshire is due to meet rebel Tory MPs on Wednesday afternoon to discuss a possible compromise plan to allow some child refugees into the UK from Europe.

After Government whips warned that the vote next Monday could be lost, with upto 35 Tory rebels and 8 DUP MPs poised to join Labour and the SNP, No.10 yesterday signalled a rethink.

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