Amber Rudd denies sending same signal as Donald Trump on refugees

Written by David Singleton on 9 February 2017 in Diary
Diary

Ministers are under pressure after quietly pulling the plug on the Dubs scheme.

The home secretary has rejected comparisons with Donald Trump after it emerged that the government is to end its commitment to provide a safe haven for thousands of vulnerable lone child refugees in Europe.

Amber Rudd was summoned to the Commons to explain why the government had cancelled the ‘Dubs scheme’ after less than six months with just 350 children having been brought to Britain.

Home affairs select committee chair Yvette Cooper said: “The home secretary knows that what she is doing is shameful… How does she live with herself, leaving thousands of children subject to disease, people trafficking, squalor and hopelessness?”

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott weighed in: "Can the secretary of state tell me ... how does she live with herself, leaving thousands of children subject to disease, people trafficking, squalor and hopelessness?"

And Labour MP Pat McFadden wondered whether Rudd really wanted to be sending out the same signal as Trump with his highly controversial Muslim ban.

"I want to ask her what signal she thinks this sends to the world in the wake of the announcement last week from president Trump in a different context," he said.

“There are always those who will say: look after our own, charity begins at home, Britain first, America first, France first and so on. Does she really want us to be aligned with that sentiment or a different one?”

Rudd responded: "We are not saying that we are closing the door, we are putting up a drawbridge. We are not saying that.

“And I would urge him and honourable members across the whole House not to fall into the trap of suggesting that we are not a country that is welcoming of refugees, that is stepping up to our obligations, that is supporting with money and with refugee programmes the most vulnerable.

"I do not recognise the comparison he is making and I hope that other members will share that position."

Robert Goodwill, the immigration minister, told MPs in a written ministerial statement on Wednesday that one further group of 150 lone child refugees are to be brought to Britain but they will be the last to be transferred under the scheme.

He did not spell out that they would be the last to arrive under the scheme – but the Home Office later confirmed that it was the case when pressed.

In the Commons today, the home secretary claimed that this did not amount to closure of the scheme. She told MPs: “The Dubs amendment is not closed. We have done what we were obliged to do and we have put a number on it.”

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