Theresa May has been called out over the Government's decision to end the lone child refugee scheme
Theresa May has been accused of a “very shabby cop out” as a mass petition opposing the end of the lone child refugee scheme was delivered to Number 10.
Labour peer Lord Dubs led criticism against the Government as he urged them to continue providing a safe haven for unaccompanied minors.
Flanked by a group of children, local politicians and faith leaders, Lord Dubs delivered a 50,000-signature petition to the Prime Minister’s residence.
After delivering the box of signatures to Number 10, Lord Dubs said: “We want the Government to change their minds. The Government have said they don’t want to take more than 350 in total under the amendment, I think that’s a very shabby cop out.
“I believe that there are thousands of unaccompanied child refugees suffering greatly in Greece, Italy and some in France, the Government has said no more and I think that is an abdication of their responsibilities, it goes against public opinion and it goes against parliamentary opinion.”
Controversy has engulfed the Government over its decision to end the programme, which was expected to facilitate around 3,000 vulnerable youngsters.
Former refugee Lord Dubs originally strong-armed the commitment from Whitehall by adding an amendment to the Immigration Act in 2016, known as the Dubs amendment.
But despite the expected influx of thousands, ministers provoked fury by putting brakes on the scheme after 150 children joined the 200 who have already arrived on British soil.
The petition follows a stinging intervention from the Archbishop of Canterbury, who warned that halting the initiative would see more children being trafficked, exploited and killed.
The Most Rev Justin Welby added his voice to the heated political row by saying he was “saddened and shocked” at the move.
He said it would be “deeply unjust” to leave the burden of caring for such children on Italy and Greece, where thousands of refugees and migrants arrive from the conflict-ridden Middle East and north Africa.