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Tory MP wrongly claims Glasgow only Scottish council to house Syrian refugees

A Conservative MP has been urged to correct the parliamentary record after wrongly claiming only Glasgow had rehomed Syrian refugees in Scotland.

Jack Brereton interrupted Ian Blackford, SNP Westminster leader, during a debate on the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, to wrongly claim Glasgow was the “only city and only authority in Scotland” to take part in the Syrian resettlement scheme.

The Conservative MP for Stoke-on-Trent’s claims were rubbished by SNP MPs in the Commons and calls were made for him to correct the parliamentary record.

All 32 councils in Scotland took part in the resettlement scheme which was launched in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, with almost a fifth of refugees who came to the UK settling north of the border.

In a fiery exchange, Mr Brereton said: “Given that only Glasgow has been the only city and only authority in Scotland to be part of the resettlement scheme until now, will the SNP actually stick to their rhetoric and start putting forward other authority areas to be part of the resettlement scheme?”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford speaking during the debate on the situation in Afghanistan in the House of Commons, London.

In response, Mr Blackford said: “My goodness, I don’t think the honourable gentleman’s actually been listening to anything we’ve been saying over the course of the last few days.

“The Scottish Government stands ready to work with the UK Government…

“Let me tell the government benches that I want to make sure that every local authority in Scotland has the opportunity to take refugees from Afghanistan.

“And that is precisely the position of the government in Scotland, but it has to come with the government in London and the devolved administrations working together, there has to be a summit of the four nations to discuss exactly how.”

Alan Brown, MP for Kilmarnock, interjected to brand Mr Brereton’s claim “utter nonsense” and said his local authority of East Ayrshire has welcomed Syrian refugees, and also referenced Dundee and Argyll and Bute.

Brendan O’Hara, SNP MP for Argyll and Bute called out to the MP to “correct the record”.

Mr Blackford said: “I also know in my own area in Highland and that we have refugees from Syria as well, and indeed they were most welcomed by the community.”

The UK Government announced late on Tuesday evening that it will welcome up to 20,000 Afghan refugees over five years. 

However, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the commitment as “woefully inadequate” and urged the UK Government to “go further to meet its reponsibilities”.

She tweeted: “The Scottish Government ready to play full part.”

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