Child refugee U-turn was ‘wrong decision’

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion

MPs who voted against taking in child refugees should be ‘ashamed’ one Brighton MP said.

Both Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, and Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Hove, voted for the amendment calling on the Government to honour its commitment to take in 3,000 child refugees.

Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Hove

Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Hove

The Dubs amendment - named after the Labour peer and former child refugee Lord Dubs - aimed to offer homes to 3,000 refugee children, but so far only 350 have made it to the UK.

Last month the Government announced its plan to scrap the scheme, and this afternoon’s vote (March 7) was a bid by Tory backbencher Heidi Allen to reinstate the scheme, and properly consult local councils on how many children they could take in.

But it failed by just 20 votes.

After the vote, Peter Kyle said: “It is just one of those times when my job is so surreal. When you stand there and you go to the right to honour the commitment we have made to extraordinarily vulnerable children, and you go left to renegade on that commitment. And to see the Home Secretary, the Prime Minister and to see senior people we have in our government going into the wrong lobby is just beyond words.

“Today’s vote was not about whether we give these kids the right to stay in the UK, it is about honouring the commitment the government already made on it.

“This is the second time the government has made the wrong decision. They might think the rest of the world is not looking our way right now, but my god they are.

“I stood by the entrance to the lobby I wanted to look in the eyes of some of those people who walked into that lobby.

“I did witness one Tory MP, she went into the lobby, she had a very heated discussion with the whips. She then walked out of the lobby just before the doors were shut. A couple of us were taken aback by how the Tory whips were acting.”

Caroline Lucas said: “MPs who voted against continuing Dubs should be ashamed. Britain is a better country than it must seem right now to the rest of the world.

“The fight for a compassionate refugee policy continues. The children’s commissioners from the four British nations have written to the Government arguing against the Dubs U-turn, and thousands of people have signed petitions calling for a reversal.

“In Parliament I will press the Prime Minister on the issue as soon as possible - and will continue to work with NGOs (Non-governmental organisations) and others to support those in need. Those of us who believe in a welcoming society must not be silent at this most critical of times.”