Government MP resigns over ‘ice-cold’ treatment of asylum seekers

Photo: Tweede Kamer
Photo: Tweede Kamer

A VVD MP has resigned because of the ‘ice-cold’ treatment of asylum seekers in the Netherlands.

Daan de Neef, an MP since the 2021 general election has said that he will leave government next Tuesday. The spark was a week in which more than 700 asylum seekers slept outside a registration camp in Ter Apel in unsanitary and ‘inhumane’ conditions, and a three month old baby died, he said in a statement on Twitter.

‘I had counted on a feeling of common humanity after a week where a three month old baby died in Ter Apel and where Artzen zonder Grenzen [Médecins Sans Frontières] called it an emergency,’ he said.

‘But this compassion was nowhere to be seen and in its place, as far as I can see, came an ice-cold approach. I cannot defend this and I do not want to. And I will not either.’

The government has said that it will temporarily back out of an EU agreement to house 1,000 asylum seekers a year from Turkish camps and families will only be able to join refugees if they have a ‘suitable house’.

De Neef, who jointly wrote the VVD manifesto between 2017 and 2021, has been a party member for 18 years. Until 2018, he was a speech writer and strategic adviser for prime minister Mark Rutte.

His departure was described by the AD as a ‘salient’ loss. Although the current measures to control asylum seekers do not differ dramatically from the VVD’s own manifesto proposals, the AD reports, VVD MPs have been calling for an even tougher approach in party meetings.

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