A ‘small handful’ of Syrian refugees would be accepted into Bassetlaw due to the district’s size and limited resources, John Mann MP revealed this week.
The Bassetlaw MP caused a stir amongst Worksop residents last week when he suggested that residents with a spare room step up to house refugee families fleeing to the UK from war-torn Syria.
But Mr Mann has defended the comment, stating that the district would only be able to accommodate a ‘small handful’ of refugees if any at all.
The MP told the Guardian: “Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that over the next four years the Government will accept up to 20,000 refugees from Syria.
“Most of these will be placed in cities throughout the UK because they have the means to accommodate them.
“If any do come to Bassetlaw, it will be a small handful due to our relatively small size and limited resources.
“I hope to be working in partnership with our local churches to ensure that they receive a positive welcome and that any additional needs are met,” Mr Mann added.
Bassetlaw council leader Simon Greaves said that if Bassetlaw was determined as an ‘asylum dispersal area’ by the Home Office, the council was willing to provide any assistance it could to help.
“The refugee crisis in Europe and the Middle East is truly horrendous.
“Working with other Notts authorities and the Home Office, Bassetlaw is willing to provide what assistance it can to help tackle this humanitarian crisis,” said Mr Greaves.
Councillor Josie Potts, of Bassetlaw Council, has stood by John Mann’s ‘spare room’ comment.
She said: “John never stops working for the people of Bassetlaw and I know he meant well with what he said.
“Our hearts go out to these people who are fleeing for their lives and we are keen to help in any way we can.
“The fact is, the council don’t know anything yet. What is clear is that if refugees are accepted in the district, there won’t be many of them.
“I should hate to think that England will ever be in the same situation as Syria. You never know what’s around the corner.”