David Cameron faces House of Lords defeat on refugee children

Peer who presented bill refuses to back down over demand that children who have already made it to Europe should be allowed into Britain

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Indy Politics

David Cameron is facing another defeat in the House of Lords over proposals to force the Government to give sanctuary to 3,000 refugee children currently in Europe.

An amendment to the Immigration Bill, which would compel the Government to accept its “fair share” of children who have made their way from Syria and other countries to Europe, will be voted on the afternoon of 21 March.

The proposal, which is backed by Labour and Liberal Democrat peers, has been laid by the Labour peer Lord Dubs, who arrived in Britain as a lone six-year-old refugee in 1939.

The Government has set up a scheme to take refugee children from camps in the Middle East – and insists that helping those who have made it to Europe will only encourage more to come.

The Independent on Sunday understands that the Home Secretary, Theresa May, has held talks with Lord Dubs in a bid to find a compromise, but the peer refused to back down over his demand that children who have already made it to Europe should be allowed into Britain.

Lord Dubs said: “All the evidence is that there are thousands of unaccompanied children in Europe. Taking 3,000 is an entirely reasonable thing to do – it would be Britain’s fair share. The amendment has huge public support, reflecting Britain’s humanitarian instincts.”

A Government spokesman said: We have committed to taking in 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees. In addition, we asked the UNHCR to identify children [in the region] who can be resettled in the UK.”