North Wiltshire MP, James Gray, quizzed Leo Docherty MP, the Minister for Defence People and Veterans, during Defence Questions yesterday afternoon. 

Mr Gray raised the issue of Operation Warm Welcome, the initiative to ensure that Afghan refugees are fully supported as they rebuild their lives in the United Kingdom and asked what can be done locally to help.

“There are 100 [refugees] in my constituency. How can we find a way to give them a warmer welcome? Could local communities, for example, find ways of welcoming them to barbeques or other ways to make them feel at home?”

The Minister responded:

“Of course, there will be a very significant role for the wider community and the third sector to play in welcoming our Afghan friends. I recently visited an Afghan cricket team that had been put together by a local pastor. The whole community is quite demonstrably coming together.”

Mr Gray was quoted afterwards as saying

“It is incredibly important that communities across the country welcome any refugees and make them feel as comfortable as possible in their new surroundings. This is a time to pull together and help those who have, quite literally, lost everything. I am certain that North Wiltshire will be at the forefront of this initiative and look forward to seeing how we can put Operation Warm Welcome in action in the South West.”