Mr Redwood’s intervention during the Statement on Syria: Refugees and Counter-terrorism, 7 September 2015

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): I strongly support the Prime Minister’s view that our help to Syrian refugees must be given close to the borders of Syria, and that we should not encourage people to undertake hazardous journeys using people traffickers; that is cruel. Will he confirm that on the unrelated topic of economic migrants, more will need to be done to honour the very serious promises that we made to the British people?

The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron): My right hon. Friend makes an important point. There are a number of people who are fleeing the appalling conflicts for whom we need to find a home, but clearly there are people who have been crossing the Mediterranean—particularly those coming from Libya on the central Mediterranean route—who are economic migrants in search of a better life. Part of the comprehensive approach that Europe needs is to ensure that there is a way of breaking the link between getting on a boat in Libya and getting settlement rights in Europe. Going back through history, whenever countries have had huge problems in this regard, they have needed to break that link to discourage people from making the trip if they are not refugees.