Amber Rudd: UK has 'met obligations' on lone child refugees
Dubs amendment ‘not closed’ says under-fire Amber Rudd as Yvette Cooper brings issue in front of MPs
Amber Rudd - Parliament TV
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has defended the decision to limit the number of lone child refugees being taken in by the UK from Europe, claiming Britain has "done what we were obliged to do".
Last night in a written statement the UK Government announced that only 350 lone children would be settled in the UK under the ‘Dubs’ scheme, named after the Lord whose successful amendment introduced the initiative.
The number of children to be transferred under the Dubs Amendment as initially proposed by Lord Dubs was 3,000.
Refugee support organisation Help Refugees is already challenging the Government’s failure to properly implement the Dubs Amendment in a judicial review.
Co-founder Josie Naughton said: “It is shameful that this Government is offering only 350 places- of which 200 are already taken- to some of the most vulnerable children in Europe. This makes our legal challenge all the more important and pressing.”
The issue was raised in the Commons by Labour’s Yvette Cooper in an emergency statement this morning.
Rudd said: “The Dubs amendment that is in place is not closed. We have done what we were obliged to do, and we have correctly put a number on it.”
Cooper said the scheme was indeed being closed, less than six months since it was approved by MPs.
Speaking of the original decision by the UK Government to agree to the scheme, she said:
“Where does it say instead of the 3,000 that Parliament debated that we will only help a tenth of that number? Where does it say that when we get the chance we will somehow turn our backs once again?
“It doesn't because we didn't say that at the time. You know that what you are doing is shameful.”
She added: “There are still so many children in need of help.”
SNP Immigration spokesman Stuart McDonald MP accused the UK Government of “abject moral failure” over the decision.
"It is shameful and completely unacceptable for the UK government to turn its back on child refugees in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War,” he said.
Rudd denied the UK was sending out negative message to the rest of the world.
“We are not saying we are closing the door, we are not saying we are putting up the drawbridge,” she said. “I would urge members not to fall into the trap of saying we are not welcoming refugees, that we are not stepping up to our obligations.”
Oxfam has also condemned the decision.
Maya Mailer, Oxfam’s Head of Humanitarian Policy, said:
“We're shocked and disappointed that less than a year after it allowed unaccompanied child refugees to find a safe haven in the UK, the government is now wriggling out of its responsibilities.”
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