Government appoints new 'Minister for Refugees' to oversee crisis response

The UK is also providing support to Lebanon

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Indy Politics

The Government has appointed a new “Minister for Refugees” to help coordinate Britain’s role in the on-going European crisis.

Conservative MP Richard Harrington has been made a junior minister with a portfolio spanning three departments - the Home Office, the communities department, and the international development department.

“Richard Harrington will be responsible for coordinating and delivering work across government to resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees in the UK, along with coordinating the provision of government support to Syrian refugees in the region,” a statement from the Government said.

The appointment comes as David Cameron visits a refugee camp in Lebanon on a fact-finding mission.

“I wanted to come here to see for myself the enormous challenges facing Lebanon as it shoulders the burden of refugees fleeing Syria and understanding what more we can do to help you,” he said at a joint press conference with Tammam Salam, the prime minister of Lebanon.

Mr Cameron said the UK would direct aid to Lebanon to help keep the country secure and noted that the UK had already helped train 5,000 Lebanese soldiers and assisted the building of a line of watchtowers on the country’s border with Syria.


He praised the way the country had integrated Syrian refugee children into its schooling system.

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn this morning told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the UK had to “work in alliance and cooperation with our European allies” in order to solve the refugee crisis.

The crisis took a new turn this weekend as Germany, which has been acting as a safe-haven for refugees, reintroduced border controls – leaving thousands stranded in transit in other countries.