Anger af­ter Arch­bishop moves Syr­ian fam­ily out of his Palace

The Mail on Sunday - - Comment - By Chris Hast­ings and Abul Ta­her

THE Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury is un­der fire for ‘up­root­ing’ a fam­ily of Syr­ian refugees from their home in the grounds of his of­fi­cial res­i­dence.

The Most Rev Justin Welby’s de­ci­sion to ask the fam­ily of two adults and four school-age chil­dren to leave their home at Lam­beth Palace has in­fu­ri­ated the head of the lo­cal school where the chil­dren are taught.

An­drew Chap­lin, head of Wal­nut Tree Walk Pri­mary in South Lon­don, com­plained di­rectly to Lam­beth Palace about the treat­ment of the fam­ily. He be­lieves they should have been al­lowed to stay there in­def­i­nitely and is an­gry they have been moved to a dif­fer­ent part of the cap­i­tal away from friends and neigh­bours.

It is likely to prove a ma­jor em­bar­rass­ment for the Arch­bishop who has spent the past few days try­ing to por­tray the Church ‘as a pas­sion­ate sup­porter of the op­pressed’.

Mr Chap­lin’s con­cerns are de­tailed in a Lam­beth Palace email – a copy of which has been ob­tained by The Mail on Sun­day.

In the email, dated May 23 this year, one Lam­beth of­fi­cial writes to an­other: ‘I’ve just had a phone call from An­drew Chap­lin. An­drew is upset and an­gry that the fam­ily are be­ing asked to move out of Lam­beth Palace, and ques­tions why we asked them to come to live at the Palace if we are then ask­ing them to leave. I tried to ex­plain it was never our in­ten­tion they should be up­rooted, but that it has ended up be­ing so dif­fi­cult to find a house for them lo­cally this has been im­pos­si­ble to avoid.’

The Arch­bishop’s 2016 de­ci­sion to move the fam­ily into a four bed­roomed cot­tage in the grounds of Lam­beth Palace was widely pub­li­cised. But the email sug­gests the move may have been prob­lem­atic.

The of­fi­cial wrote: ‘What I should have said was the main rea­son to move them out is be­cause, ac­tu­ally, it’s in their best in­ter­ests to go – life at LP [Lam­beth Palace] is not suit­able for a refugee fam­ily, and hav­ing taken the ad­vice of the agen­cies we work with it seems best to help them… in­crease their in­de­pen­dence.’

Lam­beth Palace last night said the fam­ily had moved to ac­com­mo­da­tion pro­vided by Lam­beth Coun­cil, and South­wark Dio­cese team mem­bers were pro­vid­ing ‘on­go­ing sup­port’.

UN­DER FIRE: Arch­bishop Justin Welby poses for snap in Lam­beth Palace

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.