Authority backs motion on refugees and asylum seekers

Coun Joan Tebbutt
Coun Joan Tebbutt

A motion in support of refugees and asylum seekers from Syria and other countries in conflict has been approved by Morpeth Town Council.

It has joined dozens of other authorities across the UK to pledge to work together with local organisations to help as much as possible in response to the humanitarian crisis facing many countries within the European Union.

Hundreds of thousands are seeking a safe haven in these countries after fleeing war and persecution.

The motion was put forward at a full council meeting by Coun Joan Tebbutt.

She said: “I feel that we are community leaders and we need to make a statement on this issue.

“We are not a housing authority, but I think it’s important to say that we will do what we can to support refugees who have left their country because of devastating wars.”

The original text included the word homeless. Coun Dave Pope asked for it to be taken out because he wanted asylum seekers to be added to the wording and not all asylum seekers are homeless.

Coun Nic Best, a Green Party member, said he supported the motion as amended, but was disappointed that Coun Tebbutt, a Liberal Democrat member, did not discuss the matter with the other political groups on the authority before the council meeting.

Coun Tebbutt said there was not any political motivation behind it, the idea came to her when she was discussing the subject with a church minister whilst in Scotland.

A total of 11 councillors voted in favour of the amended motion and two abstained.

It says: ‘This council resolves to support, encourage and work together with individuals and organisations in Morpeth and the wider county who are involved in supporting refugees and asylum seekers due to conflict or oppressive regimes.’