Yvette Cooper says politicians should shout less and talk more at opening of Wakefield refugee exhibition

Refugees' exhibition at Wakefield MuseumRefugees' exhibition at Wakefield Museum
Refugees' exhibition at Wakefield Museum
Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP said politicians could learn a lot from refugees at a cultural exhibition in Wakefield Museum.

Ms Cooper spoke to the Express at the launch of a new exhibition where recently resettled refugees in the area learned more about their new home city and its history.

The group created the project by looking at the links between Wakefield and Syria in work and industry, as part of a scheme run by charity World Jewish Relief to help Syrian refugees into employment.

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Asked if politicians could learn something from the refugees' project, Ms Cooper said: "Definitely. There should be more effort for people to come together. Too often there is too much shouting when we should be looking for the areas where we agree, build consensus and do things together."

Yvette CooperYvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper

In making the work the refugees discovered that in the early 20th century Wakefield imported liquorice from Syria.

And while in Syria, the father of another refugee worked for the Sirdar woollen company, which is based in Alverthorpe.

Ms Cooper added: "The project shows refugees from Syria who have fled war and persecution being welcomed by the local community in Wakefield and finding we have more in common than that which divides us, as Jo Cox said.

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"We been talking about our children in school, and the work that been done in Wakefield Museum is about common history - in liquorice fields in Syria and in Pontefract.

"And sometimes it is easy to forget how much we have in common with people who may have had very different experiences from us.

"It's a tribute to Wakefield and the district how they have welcomed these people just as they have for many generations."