Britain must do more on refugees - Cooper

Yvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper
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YVETTE COOPER has called on Theresa May to accelerate the UK’s support for Syrian refugees ahead of a major summit.

The Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP, who chairs Labour’s refugee taskforce, suggested the Government should bring forward its target to help 20,000 refugees by two years to 2018 and then help more.

She also urged the Prime Minister to resettle 500 lone child refugees before Christmas ensuring no youngster is left in Calais’ “Jungle” camp over the festive period.

A UN summit on refugees and migrants gets underway in New York tomorrow.

Ms Cooper, a former cabinet minister, said: “She must go to this summit to galvanise international support for refugees and show that Britain can and will meet our commitments.

“Right now the decisions Parliament and our country have taken are being mired in red tape and Government foot-dragging.

“Yet all the while lives are at risk. Britain has always done its bit to help those fleeing persecution - we have to live up to those values again now.

“It is shameful that we still haven’t welcomed any lone child refugees under the Dubs amendment.

“It is appalling that so many children and teenagers with family in Britain are still stuck in miserable and dangerous conditions in the Calais camp because of bureaucratic delays

Former foreign secretary David Miliband echoed the call for Britain to do more, arguing the current 20,000 target represented just five people for every parliamentary constituency.

Mr Miliband, now president of the International Rescue Committee, said: “Frankly, the UK should be saying we will take 20,000 or 25,000 a year, so four times the current level, 25 refugees per parliamentary constituency rather than just six because countries like Canada are already doing that.”