HIAS+JCORE chair refugee panel at the Labour Party Conference

HIAS+JCORE's Executive Director David Mason sits at a panel with Dame Margaret Hodge MP, Dame Diana Johnson MP, Enver Solomon and Maurice Helfgott.

HIAS+JCORE’s Executive Director David Mason was delighted to chair a panel event at this year’s Labour party conference, titled ‘What will a Labour government mean for refugees?’

The session, organised in partnership with the Jewish Labour Movement, featured Dame Margaret Hodge MP, Dame Diana Johnson MP, Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, the Refugee Council’s CEO Enver Solomon and World Jewish Relief Chair Maurice Helfgott.

The event opened with a personal speech from the Jewish Labour Movement’s Parliamentary Chair, Margaret Hodge, who recalled her own experience of having come to the UK as a refugee.

Audience members then heard from Diana Johnson, who overviewed the role the Home Affairs Select Committee can play in enabling cross-party improvements to the asylum system. Johnson also outlined current Committee support for piloting a ‘Refugee visa’.

Calling for the government to “see the face behind the case”, Refugee Council Chief Executive Enver Solomon gave a harrowing account of the challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers seeking to navigate the asylum system. Solomon followed this with a rallying cry for future policy to “Replace cruelty with compassion, replace inhumanity with humanity, replace unilateralism with multilateralism.”

The event concluded with an overview from World Jewish Relief Chair, Maurice Helfgott, of the important work the charity has been doing to settle Ukrainian refugees in the UK.

Reflecting on the event, HIAS+JCORE Executive Director David Mason said: “Inspiring speeches, lots of ideas, lots of hope – and lots of pressure!”