A new UK asylum strategy must treat every asylum seeker on their merits, and ensure that Britain plays its full part in a humane international response to the global refugee crisis. We need early confirmation of both. The Prime Minister is fond of saying that Britain should use 'head and heart' to shape our refugee policy. We agree. There is no place for scare-mongering, or arbitrary limits on our compassion.
There is a deadly humanitarian crisis on our doorstep, and our current approach is compounding the problem. If the people in The Jungle were white Europeans, I have no doubt that we do everything possible to help them. Instead, we allow desperate people to exist in appalling conditions, and build fences to ensure they stay there. If I were a more courageous man, I would have brought someone back with me.
It's now more than two months since the election. For those of us working with refugees, it's been a worrying time. Some of the initial policy decisions made by new Ministers will lead to considerable hardship amongst both newly arrived asylum seekers as well as those that have been in the UK longer. Our task is not made any easier by some of our newspapers. We've already read enough tabloid myths about asylum seekers to last into the next Parliament. Nonetheless, five years is a long time - in politics and, as many refugees will tell you, in life.
David Cameron will join the leaders of other EU countries on Thursday and Friday for a special summit to discuss the EU's migration policy, following a dramatic increase in the number of irregular migrants trying to enter the EU this year. In recent months there have also been more cases of migrants drowning while trying to cross the Mediterranean.
This week, the United Kingdom was declared the most LGBT-friendly place in Europe and yet there is one group of people in this country who have little to celebrate: LGBT asylum seekers. Five years ago, the Conservative Party promised that it would protect LGBT asylum seekers fleeing persecution. So far they have failed.
We should bear that fact in mind before denying our responsibilities in this crisis. Migration and asylum claims are part of our modern world and we need to be pro-active in international collaboration between countries of origin, transit and destination in order to preserve the right to seek international protection.