August 20, 2007
Sadiq Khan MP writes (and not only to me)
After a few bitten nails and a gentle prod via his website, I've received a reply from Sadiq Khan, Labour MP for Tooting. To be fair, though, it is summer and MPs do get a lot of letters so fair play to him.
Dear Mr Timothy Aldrich
Thank you for taking the time to write to me twice with regards to the asylum status of Iraqi interpreters.
I do very much appreciate your concern on this matter ; as you may know I was a practicing Human Rights lawyer before entering Parliament and this continues to underline my work as an MP. I do therefore think it is very important that we ensure that asylum decisions are just and right.
I know that the Government is very grateful for the service of locally employed staff in Iraq and take their security very seriously and recognises that there are concerns about the safety of former employees. Since the Government keeps all such issues under review, I understand that they have decided to look again at the assistance provided for Iraqi staff. At least 15,000 Iraqis with a claim to assistance have worked for us since 2003 and it is therefore of course important that the options are considered carefully.
I welcome the Government's decision to review the situation and am writing to confirm that I have now made the enclosed representation on your behalf to both the Foreign and Home Office asking that the relevant people are granted asylum. I expect to receive a response within the proceeding weeks which I will, of course, forward onto you.
In the meantime if you have any further concerns please do not hesitate to make contact.
MP for Tooting
And then there are the identical letters to Howells and Byrne:
Dear Kim/Liam [respectively]
I have received correspondence from my constituents regarding the asylum status of Iraqi interpreters and translators who have worked for British troops. I enclose samples of their correspondence [not cced to me, naturally - TA].
As you will see, my constituents are extremely concerned that Iraqis are not being granted asylum in the UK despite their working for the British Government putting them in real and immediate danger.
My constituents fell that the UK is not offering these Iraqi workers protection amounts to a rejection of our responsibility towards them which has 'deep moral and practical implications'.
I understand the Government is reviewing its position on this matter and I would urge you to take my constituents thoughts into consideration when coming to a decision.
Please let me have your comments in the form of a letter which I can forward on to my constituent [sic].
Many thanks for your assistance with this matter.
MP for Tooting
So, there it is then.
I have some thoughts on this but will collect them first before putting finger to pad.