Wednesday, 27 April 2016 17:31

PMQs: David Cameron must drop opposition to protecting child refugees

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SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson MP has called on David Cameron to ‘stop walking by’ and drop his opposition to the UK accepting its fair share of unaccompanied child refugees in Europe.

 On Monday the Tories voted down an amendment to the Immigration Bill that would have required the UK to accept at least 3000 child refugees. The amendment was defeated by 294 votes to 276, and the UK government has so far failed to make any clear or firm commitment to resettle its fair share of these vulnerable children.
 The SNP has called for greater resettlement since the start of crisis, and Angus Robertson was the first MP to raise the refugee crisis at Prime Ministers Questions last year. The SNP Scottish Government has led the way in the UK on practical support for refugees - launching Scotland’s refugee taskforce with £1million of funding, providing £375,000 in aid to support humanitarian activity in southern Europe, and ensuring Scotland has taken in more than 400 of the 1,300 refugees given a safe haven in the UK under the Syrian Resettlement Programme.
 Commenting Angus Robertson MP said:
 “The Prime Minister must stop walking by on the other side and urgently drop his opposition to the UK accepting our fair share of these vulnerable child refugees.
 “While the UK government opts to shrug its shoulders rather than act, thousands of unaccompanied child refugees in Europe continue to struggle alone and are at risk of trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse.
 “Europol estimates that 10,000 of these children have gone missing in the past year, many because of criminal gangs.
 “These are children that have fled war and persecution, who have lost everything, and now need our help and sanctuary. The Prime Minister must explain why he thinks the UK should not help these children by giving them refuge here.
 “If it is not the responsibility of the UK and other European countries, who does he think has the moral and legal responsibility to help house, clothe, educate and provide safety for the 100,000 unaccompanied children who have made it to Europe?”