‘How many migrants will you take?’: Bishop of Manchester challenges local councils

Bishop David Walker has sought to ‘move the refugee crisis debate on’ by asking every Greater Manchester Council, ‘how many migrants will you take?’.

Featuring as a guest speaker on BBC Radio Manchester’s Breakfast show this morning, Bishop Walker challenged the councils to press the government to allow more migrants into the UK.

He also expressed his hope that the councils would pledge to take 1000 asylum seekers into the region if sufficient powers were given.

The claim was somewhat in response to Liverpool’s promise yesterday put forward by Mayor Joe Anderson who announced: “Liverpool stands willing and ready to welcome refugees – if the Home Secretary will say yes.”

Speaking with MM, Bishop Walker expanded on the matter, saying: “If Liverpool is willing to take 100 refugees, Manchester can take 1000.

“A lot of people seem to think that taking 1000 refugees into the Greater Manchester area would massively affect our society, however with almost 3 million people living in the region it really wouldn’t make that big of a change.

“It’s scaremongering more than anything.”

“I think everybody has an obligation to help; people from all walks of life and communities. 

“However in Christianity we follow the teachings of Christ, who was at a very young age a refugee himself, fleeing from King Herod who wanted to murder him.”

On Monday, Angela Merkel said that Germany is most likely to be expecting much more than 800,000 refugees this year, whereas in the past year the UK has only taken 160 Syrian refugees into the country.

Whilst on the BBC, Bishop Walker concluded that: “The UK should take 10 to 30 thousand refugees and turn goodwill into tangible promises that people can be held accountable for.”

However the people of Greater Manchester are already showing their support for the migrants who have had to flee their homes in pursuit of safety.

A fundraising campaign entitled, ‘Manchester 2 Calais – Migrant Solidarity’, is aiming to collect supplies and money in order to send the aid to Calais, and has received over £4000 in donations from more than 100 people.

Members of the campaign describe themselves as ‘a group of people from the Greater Manchester area who are outraged at the treatment and condition of migrants in Calais.’

What do you think we should do? Should we open our borders to the thousands of refugees seeking a new and better life; or should we keep them out and our borders closed? Let us know in the comments.

To make a donation to Manchester 2 Calais click here.

Image courtesy of Manchester Climate Monthly, via Youtube, with thanks.

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