Tories vote against accepting 3,000 child refugees
A high-profile campaign for the UK to accept 3,000 child refugees stranded in Europe has failed after the government narrowly won a vote in the House of Commons rejecting the plan. MPs voted against the proposals by 294 to 276 on Monday after the Home Office persuaded most potential Tory rebels that it was doing enough to help child refugees in Syria and neighbouring countries.
The amendment to the immigration bill would have forced the government to accept 3,000 unaccompanied refugee minors, mostly from Syria, who have made their way to mainland Europe. It originated in the House of Lords after being introduced by Alf Dubs, a Labourpeer who was a beneficiary of the Kindertransport, the government-backed programme that took child refugees from Germany in the run-up to the second world war.
Following the vote, Labour vowed to continue its efforts to make the government change its mind, tabling a new amendment in the House of Lords asking it to accept a specified number of child refugees from Europe after consultation with local councils.
The Home Office successfully saw off the Dubs amendment in the Commons after arguing it would act as an incentive for refugees to make the dangerous Mediterranean crossing to Europe.
At least 95,000 unaccompanied child refugees are estimated to have applied for asylum in Europe last year. Europol, the EU’s criminal intelligence agency, estimated in January that 10,000 children had gone missing after arriving in Europe, warning that many had been taken by criminal gangs.
The Home Office made an announcement last week about providing support for up to 3,000 child refugees from camps in the Middle East, but Save the Children and others said it was merely a repeat of an announcement of aid already promised and failed to offer any help to children already trapped in Europe.
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"Il devient absolument urgent de mettre un terme à cette injustice. Il y a un manque de connaissances et de recherches. Il faut donc promouvoir le recueil de témoignages, mais aussi construire des mémoriaux, organiser des expositions..." - @BenjaminAbtan