Labour peer Lord Dubs’ amendment to the Government’s Immigration Bill was narrowly defeated when it came before MPs in the House of Commons on Monday evening.
A previously announced Government scheme will take 3,000 vulnerable children from camps near the conflict zone, but none from within Europe. This is in addition to, and consistent with, the Syrian vulnerable person resettlement programme.
Some opponents to the amendment argued that helping children in Europe would create a “pull factor”. The Guardian reports:
James Brokenshire, a Home Office minister, had said in Monday night’s debate that the government could not support a policy that would “inadvertently create a situation in which families see an advantage in sending children alone, ahead and in the hands of traffickers, putting their lives at risk by attempting treacherous sea crossings to Europe which would be the worst of all outcomes”.
Labour’s shadow Immigration Minister is not giving on the UK doing more to help children stranded in Europe. He says that “the fight will go on”.
“What it boils down to is to say we must abandon these children to their fate, lest if we do anything, others may follow in their footsteps. I am not prepared to take that position.”