SNP calls for ‘moral leadership’ in refugee row with Westminster

Children holds a box of signed petitions. Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Children holds a box of signed petitions. Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images

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The SNP’s Westminster leader has called on Theresa May to show “moral and political leadership” by reversing the decision to end a scheme for bringing lone child refugees to Britain.

Angus Robertson has written to the Prime Minister on behalf of the party’s 54 MPs seeking an urgent meeting on the closure of the scheme to take in unaccompanied refugee children from other countries in Europe.

It was announced last week that just 350 children will be given a home in the UK under the so-called Dubs amendment – far fewer than the 3,000 originally expected.

The decision, which sparked an outcry, will come under scrutiny at Westminster this week with a special session of the Home Affairs Select committee on Wednesday and a House of Commons debate on Thursday.

The UK government said it is “committed to supporting vulnerable children who are caught up in conflict and danger”.

Mr Robertson said: “The Prime Minister cannot continue to remain silent in the face of growing pressure from the public and parliament to reverse this shameful decision.

“We are in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War – it will not just go away, and the UK government must not shirk its moral responsibility to receive our fair share of unaccompanied child refugees. These are some of the most vulnerable children in the world – we can and must do more to protect them.

“Tory ministers have been far too slow and reluctant to act throughout the refugee crisis. The relatively weak commitments that they have made must now be kept – and instead of closing down key routes to sanctuary the UK government should be stepping up its resettlement efforts.

“Theresa May must now show some moral and political leadership by immediately scrapping plans to end the Dubs Scheme and by stepping up the UK Government’s refugee resettlement efforts.”

A UK government spokesman said: “Thanks to the goodwill of the British public and local authorities in the last year alone, we have provided refuge or other forms of leave to more than 8,000 children.

“Our commitment to resettle 350 unaccompanied children from Europe is just one way we are helping. We have also committed to resettle up to 3,000 vulnerable children and family members from the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region and 20,000 Syrians by the end of this parliament.”

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