Tories shut down Dubs scheme to bring child refugees to the UK – after relocating just 350

The initial amendment called for 3,000 lone children to be relocated


The government will close the route into Britain created for child refugees by the Dubs Amendment, the Home Office announced today, although just 350 children have been relocated under its terms rather than the thousands expected.

Proposed by Lord Dubs — who himself came to the UK as a child refugee in the 1930s — the amendment initially called for 3,000 child refugees to be relocated. David Cameron initially resisted, but was forced to backtrack under threat of a Tory rebellion, accepting a version of the amendment that didn’t specify a number.

But critics insist that to admit scarcely more than a tenth of the originally proposed number is against the spirit of the government’s commitment, and have slammed the government’s attempt to sneak the announcement out at the same time as the Article 50 debate.

The shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, said the government’s behaviour was ‘shameful’.

Green Party leader Jonathan Bartley called it ‘an absolute disgrace’, which undermines ‘any claim by the prime minister to be a compassionate Conservative’.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron described it as ‘a betrayal of these vulnerable children and a betrayal of British values’.

Yvette Cooper, who leads Labour’s refugee taskforce pointed out that ‘Dubs was never time-limited and the government said they would abide by both the word and the spirit of the amendment.’

“No one ever suggested we would only help children for a few months then turn our backs, especially when the global refugee crisis shows no sign of abating.”

Lord Dubs invoked his own experience, commenting:

“During the Kindertransport, Sir Nicky Winton rescued 669 children from Nazi persecution virtually singlehandedly. I was one of those lucky ones. It would be a terrible betrayal of his legacy if as a country we were unable to do more than this to help a new generation of refugees,”

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.