Four valid Motions on Notice, signed by at least three Members of the Council, have been received for consideration at this meeting.
It was moved by Councillor S Brockbank and seconded by Councillor L Bartoli that:
The horror of the Taliban taking over Afghanistan remains writ large in all our minds – and rightly so.
The oppression of groups ranging from women to other faith groups, from the LGBTQ community to those who have served the people in a military role, is a human crisis. There are many differing views as to whether it was right to withdraw from this troubled theatre of war, but as local politicians it is incumbent on us to ensure that North Tyneside Council has made all preparations to welcome those who have been assessed by Her Majesty’s Government as needing our protection and ensure that they have access to services.
Equally, the impact on the heroic service personnel who have protected and, in sad cases, died for the cause of freedom in Afghanistan must be considered and the Council must ensure that the bravery shown is reflected in the speed and quality of the service that our military can expect.
We call on the Elected Mayor and Cabinet to:
1. Re-assure Council and residents that all preparations have been made to accommodate refugees.
2. Re-assure Council that service personnel will be at the front of any queue of service provision.
3. Provide Council with a clear plan as to how arrangements will be monitored and reviewed.
Delete the following wording in the second paragraph:
“but as local politicians it is incumbent on us to ensure that North Tyneside Council has made all preparations to welcome those who have been assessed by Her Majesty’s Government as needing our protection and ensure that they have access to services”.
And replace with
“The United Kingdom made several promises to the people of Afghanistan chief among them is that we would not abandon them, this Council believes that the Government has not gone far enough in assessing those who assisted the British and allied mission in Afghanistan. As well as those already assessed by the Government, we believe the Government has a moral duty to evacuate and offer asylum to the many interpreters, their families and many others that worked with us, many of whom have been left behind”.
Reword bullet point 2 by the deletion of the wording:
“at the front of any queue of service provision”.
Being replaced by:
“given the appropriate priority in terms of service provision”.
And the addition of a further bullet point 4:
4. “Write to the Home Secretary to:
· Outline our concerns about the thousands of eligible Afghan nationals and British citizens left behind in Afghanistan.
· Confirm our support to evacuate as many of those eligible to be evacuated by any means possible.
· Ask the Home Secretary to detail funding and initiatives that will be set up to aid with the resettlement of Afghan refugees.
· Ask the Home Secretary to grant immediate asylum status to those Afghan nationals already in the UK and expand the family reunion route”.
The amendment, on being put to the meeting, was approved by 43 votes to 5 votes.
The motion, as amended, on being put to the meeting, was approved by 43 votes to 0 votes, with 7 abstentions.