Midlothian MP calls for return of parliament to discuss Afghanistan

Midlothian MP Owen Thompson has called for parliament to return early so MPs can question the government and raise urgent cases arising from the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 3:14 pm
Hundreds of Afghans have been trying to flee the country since the Taliban took back power. Photo: Getty Images.

As SNP Chief Whip, Mr Thompson wrote to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson requesting the recall from summer recess, two weeks earlier than the scheduled return on September 6.

He said: "Parliament is due to sit again in two weeks' time, but that's no use for people facing life or death situations in Afghanistan - they need urgent assistance right now.

"As MPs we must be able to ask the questions and hold the government to account. We need to eyeball Ministers and quiz them about the evacuation process, the resettlement of refugees and their plans to tackle the ongoing humanitarian and security crises that we see unfold.

"We also need to raise individual cases with Ministers in the chamber, to try and seek swifter assistance. While we have had some limited opportunities for briefing calls with Ministers, these have been oversubscribed and far too few.

"Like most MPs I am dealing with urgent situations for people like interpreters or drivers who helped our forces but are now at risk .

"I hear reports that emergency numbers which are supposed to be monitored 24 hours are simply ringing out for hours on end. As MPs we need more ways to urgently raise these issues with Ministers, to try and get action to bring people to safety.

"As an MP I want to make sure this government takes its responsibility to all those who helped us and to the people of Afghanistan more seriously. For that we must be back in chamber immediately."