Joe Biden's Afghanistan statement is ‘gobsmacking’ says TV host
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MPs will cram back into the Commons chamber in person to discuss the chaotic scenes in Afghanistan. Parliament had not been expected to return until September 6, but mounting criticism of the Government has forced the Prime Minister’s hand. The crisis talks will begin at 9.30am this morning with Tory MPs on a one-line whip, allowing them to speak freely on the issue without punishment from the party.
Former soldiers including MPs Johnny Mercer, Tom Tugendhat and Tobias Ellwood are expected to rage at US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw which facilitated the Taliban victory.
Mr Mercer told BBC Radio 4: “Parliament’s being recalled – so what?
“The airport is under siege.
“Boris Johnson has said he doesn’t want Afghanistan to become a place for terrorism, it doesn’t mean anything to the families of those who lost their sons and daughters in this war.”
President Biden yesterday defended his decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan despite it triggering a string of victories to the Taliban – seizing 20 cities in only two weeks.
The President blamed the Taliban’s victory on the Afghan army and political leaders who refused to fight or fled the hard-line militants.
The Taliban declared “the war was over” on Sunday after seizing the presidential palace in the capital city Kabul – sending former President Ashraf Ghani fleeing and sparking panic across the country.
Chaos erupted in Kabul as thousands of people stormed the airport in a desperate attempt to escape the Taliban’s feared rule.
There are widespread fears across Europe that this development could trigger a repeat of the 2015 migrant crisis as thousands leave Afghanistan fearing for their lives.
The Government has outlined a plan that will allow 20,000 refugees to resettle in the UK over seven years with priority given to women and girls who are most at risk of human rights abuses at the hands of the Taliban.
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08:36 Liberal Democrats urge Government to increase number of refugees
Ahead of the Commons debate this morning, Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey has urged the Government to drastically increase its uptake on the number of Afghan refugees allowed to seek sanctuary in the UK.
The Government has proposed resettling 20,000 over the next seven years with 5,000 of those coming in the first year under the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme.
Sir Ed told BBC Breakfast: “My worry is the Government only proposing to resettle 5,000 over the next year or so.
“The Liberal Democrats think it should be 20,000 over the next year.
“We know it’s hundreds of thousands of people whose lives are at risk.
“Britain needs to play a part, with other countries, and we need to play a part urgently.
“That’s why the Liberal Democrats have said that, as a bare minimum, we should be taking 20,000 people over the next year.
“The Government’s commitment to 20,000 is over the long term, whatever that is.
“So we will be pressing in the House of Commons for the Government to do far more, and to work with our neighbours in Europe and elsewhere so there’s a truly international effort.”
08:26 Afghans left to 'sink or swim,' said Labour Party Chair
Labour Party Chair Anneliese Dodds has argued there are urgent questions for ministers returning to the Commons today over resettlement programmes for Afghans who had been left “to sink or swim.”
She added: “There most definitely is a point in Parliament being recalled, it’s been very disturbing that we have not seen a clear government response. We do need to have that session in Parliament.”
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