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Be 'bold and ambitious' in handling Syrian refugee crisis, MPs tell David Cameron

  • @Jamie_Merrill

David Cameron must be "bold and ambitious" in his response to the Syrian refugee crisis, a coalition of MPs and peers demand today.

In an open letter, more than 60 MPs and peers have written to the Prime Minister after the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) issued a fresh call for countries to find homes for 130,000 vulnerable people from Syria over the next three years. The letter was written after the first of "several hundred" Syrians arrived in Britain under the Government's Vulnerable Persons Scheme last month.

Mr Cameron was criticised over his U-turn on the arrival in Britain of the Syrian refugees in January. Conservative backbench MPs accused the Government of "political posturing and tokenism" over the decision to allow the refugees to enter Britain. Speaking at the time, Mr Cameron said the UK had taken in more than 1,000 Syrian asylum seekers and was fulfilling its "moral obligations to the people of Syria".

The refugees' arrival followed a protracted campaign, supported by The Independent, which forced the Government to open the UK's doors to vulnerable women and girls who had experienced or were at risk from sexual violence, as well as elderly and disabled refugees and survivors of torture.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, said the UK would run its own Vulnerable Person Relocation scheme, giving refugees five years' humanitarian protection.

Anna Musgrave from the Refugee Council, which organised the letter to Mr Cameron, said yesterday: "Sadly, the humanitarian crisis in Syria and the surrounding region isn't going away soon. If anything, it's going to get worse."