A new international agreement could improve the way we cooperate with other countries on refugees.

Today I challenged Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom to provide time for MPs to debate the Global Compact on Refugees, a new UN agreement with far-reaching consequences. Sadly, my request was brushed aside.

I will continue to push the government to make time to discuss this, because implementing this agreement could make a real difference to the millions of people fleeing war and persecution.

The Global Compact, initiated by Barack Obama in 2016, aims to encourage international cooperation and shared responsibility, easing pressures on countries hosting refugees and expanding refugee resettlement. Once it is safe for refugees to return to their countries of origin, the agreement would also help them go back in safety and dignity. These measures, due to be agreed at the United Nations next week, cannot come a moment too soon.

The refugee crisis continues to grow, with a record 68.5 million people worldwide forced from their homes last year. Most of these people end up in overstretched developing countries. And this summer, people have continued to drown in the Mediterranean with horrifying regularity. Using the Global Compact to resolve some of these problems should be a matter of urgency for the government.

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