Yesterday, Ruth Cadbury, a member of the British House of Commons from Brentford and Isleworth spoke of the testimony of Susie Barnett, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. Cadbury told her colleagues in Parliament, “Speakers at Hounslow’s civic commemoration of the holocaust this morning reminded us of the importance of compassion and refuge in the face of hate. Council leader Councillor Steve Curran celebrated the diversity of the people in that room—people from all backgrounds from all over the world—and made the link between Hounslow welcoming people in the room and all the people who live in Hounslow now from all over the world. They have included Sir Mo Farah, who arrived and was welcomed in Hounslow aged eight in about 1990.
We also heard from Susie Barnett, who was born in 1938 in Hamburg. She told us of her family’s moving and incredible story, of fleeing the hate and discrimination of Nazi Germany at the end of 1930s and arriving separately in the UK as refugees. That family story of personal relationships and tragedy brought home to us the link between world events and what happens to families and ordinary people in these circumstances.
After the service this morning, I thanked Susie for her moving story and was able to tell her about the petition demanding that the invitation to President Trump be withdrawn. I told her that while she was speaking the tally on that petition tipped over the 1 million mark. She said, “Right, when I get home this afternoon, I am going to sign it.” That petition is still being signed at the rate of 10 signatures every second, and by the end of this evening the figure could hit 1.5 million.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn) referred to the rules on movement and the safety of refugees that emerged from the ashes of world war two. The President of the United States is trying to rewrite these rules. He is fuelling fears, and a local Muslim activist phoned me this morning worrying about the implications of the feelings that President Trump is spreading in the US: what will that mean for the Muslim community here in the UK and in Hounslow?
The Executive order was directed at Muslims and at refugees, but the President is also effectively demonising many others—Mexicans, women, refugees from all over the world and now, we hear today, green activists, who among other things are trying to save the American bald eagle, symbol of the United States. We have to stand up against this prejudice, before it leads to mass injustice.”