YP Letters: UK leaders can't boast about record on refugees

From: Daniel Vulliamy, Brigham, Driffield.

Sajd Javid is the Home Secretary.

MY thanks to Leeds city councillor Tom Leadley for his interesting letter about refugees from Hitler just before the Second World War (The Yorkshire Post, December 22).

My mother was one such. Just before she came to the UK, my two aunts had helped 4,000 Basque refugee children fleeing from Franco after Hitler and Mussolini’s planes bombed the north of Spain in early 1937.

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The sad truth is that in respect of both the Basque and Kindertransport children, our government gave minimal help, often putting up ridiculous obstacles (Baldwin insisted the Spanish children really would not like the British climate).

However much our political leaders claim a proud British tradition of welcoming refugees, the truth is very different.

The real welcome came from ordinary British people, many using great skills to get round official bureaucracy which was frightened of upsetting the likes of Franco and Hitler. As Sajid Javid, Amber Rudd and Theresa May, our last three Home Secretaries, have demonstrated similar callous hostility to the Windrush immigrants, political refugees and economic migrants, we can only hope that, once again, UK citizens can rise above the petty-mindedness of their leaders.