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Watch: Welsh minister’s passionate speech in defence of migrants – ‘they’re welcome to make their home here’

07 Nov 2022 3 minute read
Julie James – Member of the Senedd for Swansea West, Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change

Wales Climate Change Minister has issued a passionate defence of migrants, saying that she disagrees with the UK Government’s handling of the issue.

Julie James said that she would not be alive today if it were not for workers from abroad in the NHS, as a doctor from Sri Lanka saved her life when she had breast cancer.

She was responding to a question from journalist David Wood about the impact of climate change on migration to the UK.

“I’m very, very proud that Wales is a nation of sanctuary and that I come from Swansea, which is a city of sanctuary,” she said.

“The contribution of refugees and migrants and asylum seekers from all over the world is absolutely palpable here in Wales. My own family have been migrants so I know what that feels like as well.

“I would say that we would welcome people who want to make their home here in Wales who want to contribute to our economy and help it grow.

“All over Wales, we have businesses who really could do with more people to help them get through to the growth potential they have.

“So I don’t take the same view as the UK Government, I’m afraid. I say that we should welcome people who want to come and make their home with us who want to come and learn our language and be part of our community, and to help us in everything we do.

“I would not be standing here today without an NHS doctor who helped me through my breast cancer and who was from Sri Lanka. So as far as I’m concerned, those people are very welcome to make their home here.”

Her comments came after Rishi Sunak and Italy’s new far-right prime minister Giorgia Meloni discussed “tackling illegal migration” as they met on the sidelines of the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt.

The Prime Minister and Ms Meloni, Italy’s first woman premier, took office within days of each other last month.

Ms Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party leads the country’s first far-right-led government since the Second World War, a coalition that has made reducing immigration a key part of their agenda.

Mr Sunak’s Government is battling to get a grip of the deepening Channel crossings crisis at home and the number of arrivals continues to grow.

According to a Downing Street readout of the meeting, Mr Sunak and Ms Meloni “had a positive discussion on a range of shared issues and priorities, including tackling illegal migration and people-smuggling gangs”.

They also discussed climate change, a Downing Street spokesman said.

“Reflecting on the UN climate summit, they noted the importance of addressing climate change for our long-term security and prosperity.

“The Prime Minister highlighted the shock to global energy and food prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the leaders agreed to continue to take strong action to support Ukraine and hold Russia to account for its actions.

“The Prime Minister and prime minister Meloni welcomed the opportunity to meet at the start of their respective premierships and looked forward to working closely together, building on the strong partnership between the UK and Italy.”


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I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
18 days ago

With food and repayments going through the roof, it’s time we had politicians with both feet on the ground. This article shows Cymru has far too many of the opposite.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
18 days ago
Reply to  I.Humphrys

Disagree. There is no shortage of resources. Just the money is sitting with those who hoard it. It didn’t just disappear. I heard today from the English Broadcasting Corporation that there are 100,000 “vacancies” in the NHS. For vacancies read shortages. “But those jobs should go to British people sone would say”. And yet British people are not filling them. They don’t want them. Before the Brexit debacle, skilled doctors and nurses came from all over the world to work in the NHS. Same with the food industry etc. Immigration is a benefit if managed properly. Unfortunately, we have the… Read more »

CJPh
CJPh
18 days ago

I often find myself disagreeing with you but I’m far closer to your position on this than Mr. Humphrys. There’s a serious skills deficit (borne from students eschewing medical degrees, nursing courses, psychiatric training and hard sciences in general in favour of the softer sciences, humanities and applied studies degrees – the latter being effectively useless in practical terms). Couple this with an aging population (along with some actions with regards to staff that look increasingly misguided in hindsight) and you have a serious crisis. The gaps in our services need to be filled somehow. Skilled migrants, families and refugees… Read more »

Last edited 18 days ago by CJPh
Gaynor
Gaynor
18 days ago

The NHS is currently shipping in nurses from India to plug the staffing gap. The Europeans went home post Brexit, as Tory gvt GB was intent on blaming them for the mess they made themselves. Which continues on HMS Titanic UK

Mark
Mark
18 days ago
Reply to  I.Humphrys

“Great Britain” has enough wealth to ensure that no one goes hungry, lives in poverty, can’t afford their own home, I can go on. If we distributed that wealth we would live in a more tolerant society. There is no need to see children from any background struggling to make a better life for themselves. This country needs more politicians with empathy for those in most need not for those that need not. Which is what we have at the moment. Pay kindness forward and it will make a huge difference.

Last edited 18 days ago by Mark
notimejeff
notimejeff
18 days ago

The kind of people who saved her didn’t come in on dinghies run by gangsters. She should acknowledge that.

Gaynor
Gaynor
18 days ago
Reply to  notimejeff

I agree with you that the criminal element should be highlighted and ackmowledged and dealt with . Migrants are here for many reasons, economic, nefarious , asylum, familial ties, fact that English is a global language refuge, etc. But UK refused to cooperate with France post Brexit. No , no they had to burn it all down to make Britain Great again….and failed….so let blame those foreigners is the mantra.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
18 days ago

Sunak hits it off with Meloni, now there is a surprise…back to the ‘Call me Dave gets down with the eastern European extreme right wing’ days

G Horton-Jones
G Horton-Jones
17 days ago

Wales should be in a position to offer asylum and to issue visas and work permits

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