Britain is planning to open its doors to ‘vulnerable Syrian refugees’, it was revealed last night.
An announcement could be made as early as tomorrow to coincide with a Parliamentary debate on the UK’s participation in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees programme.
Home Secretary Theresa May told MPs yesterday she was ‘working with the Foreign Secretary, William Hague to look at what further support can be provided by this Government and further announcements on that will be made’.
She said Britain had opened its doors to ‘several thousand asylum seekers’ since the chaotic civil war began and said there was a ‘mechanism already in place to facilitate helping Syrian refugees with existing family ties in the UK to settle here.
Labour and the UKiP have been increasing pressure on Mrs May over the UK’s response to the crisis.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper urged Mrs May to allow the UK to provide shelter for ‘the minority of refugees who - the UN and others have made clear - are too vulnerable to come or to survive even in the camps, and that is why it’s so important to provide that extra help’.
Mrs May replied: ‘This is an issue which is of concern to people across this whole House, and the Government is looking at what is the most appropriate way for us to provide support and enhance support that we are already giving.’
She defended the UK’s record on helping Syrian refugees ‘and the amount of money that we are providing in humanitarian aid’.
Her comments come after Mr Hague said the Prime Minister David Cameron did ‘open the door’ to the possibility of vulnerable Syrian refugees being welcome in the UK.
‘It’s encouraging to hear that the Government is listening to calls for it to accept resettled refugees from Syria,’ Maurice Wren, chief executive of the Refugee Council, told journalists.
He added: ‘The Government must act without further delay to secure safe passage for the people who are struggling to survive in the harsh conditions in the region.’