Baroness Warsi: The UK must do more to help refugees

Posted On: 
3rd September 2015

Former Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi has joined Tory calls for the Government to "do something more" to help refugees fleeing conflict in countries such as Syria. 

The peer, who was also a former chairman of the Conservative party, echoed comments from MPs David Burrowes and Johnny Mercer, who both argued the UK should welcome more refugees. 

"We have an unfolding crisis in Europe and we can either say 'look, it's not our problem, we can't do more' or we can be realistic and practical and say we have a long and proud history and tradition of responding when these situations arise We do so in a humane way, we do so when we have expertise and in doing so we do say to the rest of Europe 'we too will share the burden'," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. 

She also made reference to the photo published yesterday of a dead Syrian toddler washed up on a beach in Turkey, saying: "Just because we can't resolve everything doesn't mean we mustn't do something, something more than we're doing now and that means using the expertise that we have.

"For example when we responded during the Second World War to unaccompanied minors and the Kindertransport, that tragic picture that we've seen overnight could be a moment where we say, actually Britain does have a historic tradition of responding to unaccompanied minors and that is where we should be prepared to take more."   

At the same time she argued that the Government should remain "firm" on those are "simply economic migrants wanting to jump the queue", 

The Government has so far emphasised the money it has put into improving the situation in Syria itself, with David Cameron saying yesterday that the answer to the crisis was to "try to to bring peace and stability to that part of the world." 

Although the Prime Minister said the Government kept the number of refugees let into the country "under review", he added: "I don’t think there is an answer that can be achieved simply by taking more and more refugees."