The Bexhill and Battle MP has flown to Jordan to visit a refugee camp for a week to see how effective his parliamentary decisions have been and to find out more.
Huw Merriman decided to join Save the Children with Banbury MP Victoria Prentis at the Za’atari refugee camp which is home to almost 80,000 Syrians.
The MP defended his beliefs on Britain’s foreign aid budget, whether the country should focus on refugees in Europe or the Middle East and supporting military action in Syria.
Save the Children asked Mr Merriman to sign a letter applauding murdered MP Jo Cox for her work with Oxfam but he believed it would be more meaningful to visit the refugees.
“Throughout my 18 months in Parliament, the situation in Syria, and the plight of refugees, has been a challenge and a moral dilemma,” he said.
“I hope this trip will help me get a better understanding of the issues which are uppermost in my mind.”
Mr Merriman defended his vote for Britain to only take in refugees from Middle Eastern camps, rather than those who had travelled to Europe, and said his trip could make him belief the UK should take more.
He said it is better to not encourage people to risk drowning and would prefer to see refugees return to their countries to support ‘Syrian’s rebirth’.
“Time will tell which approach was correct but I am keen to challenge my assumption that it is best to support refugees in camps on the Syrian border or ask myself if the situation in Syria and Jordan is so desperate that we should bring more refugees over to the UK,” he said.
Za’atari is the second largest refugee camp in the world, is 15km from Syria and of the 80,000 Syrians, more than half are under 18 and there are 79 births a week on average.
Save the Children has been helping youngsters in Jordan since 1985.
Mr Merriman said he backed the governments spending 0.7 per cent of its budget on foreign aid and that he is keen to see what difference is makes and if his trip changes his mind or not.
“I am keen to see how our overseas aid is used on the ground, what difference it makes to those it is spent on and if my views on our overseas aid budget remains as positive,” he said.
The MP supported the UK’s military action in Syria and was also keen to see if it is helping the situation in Jordan or making it worse.
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