Theresa May 'faces major Tory rebellion' over Dubs refugee scheme

Posted On: 
7th March 2017

Theresa May faces a humiliating backbench revolt today over her plans to scrap a scheme bringing lone child refugees from Europe to Britain, a new report has said.

The so-called Dubs scheme is due to be scrapped once 350 refugee children arrive in the UK from Europe
Credit: 
PA Images

Up to 30 rebel Tory MPs could back a plan forcing councils in England to identify whether they have space to settle unaccompanied refugees, according to the BBC.

Campaigners were left furious last month after the Government announced the so-called Dubs scheme bringing lone children from the continent to the UK would be junked once 350 have arrived.

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It was hoped that 3,000 children who had already made the perilous journey to Europe from war-torn Syria would be allowed in under the plan.

Ministers have claimed local authorities do not have the capacity to settle more children, but the Home Affairs Committee yesterday said evidence on the ground suggested otherwise.

However a cross-party group of MPs hopes to amend the Children and Social Work Bill to force councils to report their capacity to provide welfare and safeguarding services to kids.

According to the Sun, top Tory MPs including former education secretary Nicky Morgan and former business minister Anna Soubry could back the plan.

With a working majority of just 16 the Prime Minister is at risk of defeat during Commons votes on amendments to the bill, due later today.

'COMPASSION SHOULD NOT END'

Tory backbencher Heidi Allen lauded the work Britain was doing to bring refugees from the Middle East but said accepting lone children from Europe was the “final piece in the jigsaw”.

"This is a global crisis and we need to play our part," she told the BBC.

"The Dubs amendment moved us as a nation. We could not not respond to that terrible image of a little boy washed up on the beach.

"We have decided to end the Dubs scheme neatly at the end of the financial year.

“Humanitarian crises won't end at the end of the financial year nor should our compassion."

RESETTLEMENT

A government spokesman said: "We set up the national transfer scheme to ensure that caring responsibilities for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are shared by local authorities across the country in a way that is fair and in the best interest of the children.

"We continue to encourage local authorities to participate in this scheme.

"Each year around 3,000 children arrive in the UK and claim asylum, which is in addition to children placed in a local authority area through our resettlement schemes from the Middle East and North Africa region.

"Last year, the UK granted protection or another form of leave to more than 8,000 children."