On 7th December 2015 Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty’s Government “what progress they have made to implement the Prime Minister’s pledge to settle 1,000 Syrian refugees by Christmas.” The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Mike Hill, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, I return to a question I previously hinted at, and in the light of the rather high profile reportage of the plan of the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury to house refugees in a cottage in the grounds of Lambeth Palace. Given that we understand there is some necessary bureaucracy associated with the proper placement of refugees, have we got the balance right? It is not just a question about the Archbishop, but about the good will shown by a good many people, which seems to be turned back by unnecessary bureaucracy.
Lord Bates: We do not want that to happen, of course. We must remember that the priority consideration regarding the vulnerable persons scheme is that the people in question are vulnerable. First, we are talking about women and children who are at risk, along with people who have been subject to torture and those in need of acute medical care. They may not be the ideal people to take up the offers coming forward under the community-based sponsorship scheme. Like the right reverend Prelate, I read that report over the weekend. A meeting is going to take place on Thursday between Lambeth Palace and the Home Office to resolve that difference—I am sure it can be resolved—and to make sure that that very generous offer is accepted and taken up.