BRITAIN will continue to help the most vulnerable refugees while not encouraging “perilous” crossings to Europe, says John Howell
BRITAIN will continue to help the most vulnerable refugees while not encouraging “perilous” crossings to Europe, says John Howell.
The Henley MP was speaking after an amendment to the Immigration Bill that removes the arbitrary figure of 3,000 as the number of child refugees that should be brought to the UK.
In January, the Government agreed to take some lone child refugees directly from North Africa and Middle East but rejected calls to accept 3,000 children who had made it to Europe because it did not want to encourage others to make the journey.
Now, after a change of heart, children registered in Greece, Italy or France before March 20, when the EU struck its refugee deal with Turkey, will be eligible for resettlement in the UK.
Mr Howell said the Government would work with councils to establish their “preparedness” to receive refugees.
He said: “This response avoids the problem of creating a situation in which families see an advantage in sending children ahead, putting their lives at risk.
“We continue to help the most vulnerable while not encouraging new perilous crossings to Europe.”
Meanwhile, Mr Howell has defended David Cameron’s comment that Nigeria is “fantastically corrupt”.
The MP, who was appointed as a trade envoy focusing on increasing exports to the country in January, said: “Nigeria is one of the most corrupt places on the planet. That can’t be denied but I’m very pleased that the Nigerian government is tackling it.”
He said that companies doing business there were well aware of the problems.
Mr Cameron was overheard making the comments while at a Buckingham Palace event to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday.