The Government’s decision to end the scheme allowing vulnerable child refugees into the UK was branded “shameful” by Labour’s Yvette Cooper.
Ministers announced on Wednesday they would halt arrivals under the scheme in March once they had reached 350 – despite expectations homes would be offered to as many as 3,000 vulnerable refugee children.
The former MP, who left his post in 1997, urged the UK to be more “generous” and scrap the decision to stop accepting refugees.
Gyles Brandreth hit out at the withdrawal of the Dubs Amendment
We should be a generous country and we should be seen to be doing the right thing
“Last year [Lord Dubs] secured a great success, he managed to persuade the government of the day to change its mind and introduce what is now known as the Dubs Amendment, which allows quite a small number of children who do not have older people to look after them to come into this country and be taken care of local authorities,” he said.
“It’s not asking a lot and we are still a very prosperous country, we should be a generous country and we should be seen to be doing the right thing by these children – it looks disappointing.”
Mr Brandreth said there was a definite “possibility” the Government had used the recent debate to disguise their actions, branding it “unnecessary”.
He said: “‘Bury the news in paragraph 47? Possibly, I don’t know. It seems to me quite unnecessary.
“It is such a small thing, in the great scope of things. To seen to be generous and open is such a triumph – but it looks like the Government are already backtracking.”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd defended the decision, telling the Commons it was made because ministers feared it was encouraging people traffickers.
Addressing MPs, Labour’s Ms Cooper said thousands of child refugees were allowed to languish in camps across Europe at risk and desperate for help.
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She asked: “Britain can do better than this. Will she accept that and reinstate the Dubs programme now?”
Ms Rudd said that the UK was concentrating its efforts on providing aid and resettlement to people in crisis-hit countries such as Syria.
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She said: “I complete reject her attack. The UK has a strong reputation in Europe and internationally for looking after the most vulnerable. That will continue.
“We have a different approach to where those most vulnerable are, we believe that they are in the region.
“That’s why we have made a pledge to accept 3,000 children from the region and we are committed to delivering on that.”
Lord Dubs claimed the Government had breached its own commitments by going back on his amendment “without any good reason”.
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