France is not ‘Nazi Germany,’ stop being ‘so sentimental’ about child refugees – Tory MP
Pauline Latham, the MP for Mid Derbyshire, stood by the government’s claim that the scheme, known as the Dubs Amendment, would act as “pull factor” and encourage more refugees to come to Europe.
She claimed that government was instead doing the “best thing” by pushing to keep refugees in their home region.
“We should stop being so sentimental and be looking at what [is] the best thing to do for these families and children and that is keep them in the region,” she told MPs during an emergency House of Commons debate over the scrapping of the Dubs amendment.
Latham also said that people who have already fled to Europe are safe in their present countries, insisting France is not “Nazi Germany.”
“These children are not under threat of murder, they are in safe countries, [and] the governments [of those countries] should be dealing with [them],” Latham said.
If France is “rat-infested,” it has nothing to do with Britain, she added, further blaming the Greek government for allowing poor conditions its camps.
“Whose fault is that? That’s Greece’s fault,” she said.
Latham later said her comments were “misconstrued” and a “poor choice of words.”
The debate comes as newly released figures reveal the number of asylum applications in the UK has dropped for the first time since 2010, when the conflict in Syria began, triggering the greatest refugee crisis since World War II.
The total number of asylum-seekers stood at 38,517, a drop of four percent from the previous year, despite the 1.2 million people applying for asylum in the EU.
But Lisa Doyle, head of advocacy at the Refugee Council, warned that the drop is no reason to feel relieved.
“If the fall in the number of people seeking refuge in Britain was because the world had become a safer, more peaceful place then we’d have cause to celebrate,” she said in a statement.
“However this is plainly not true. The situation globally has become ever more dangerous and more and more people have been forced to flee from their homes.”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced at the beginning of the month that the UK would only be taking in 350 child refugees, rather than the 3,000 target it had initially committed to.
But the decision has angered a cross-party group of MPs, including Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who warned that child refugees are still arriving at Dunkirk and Calais on the northern French coast.
“They had family in Britain but they had been turned down, been given no reason, no piece of paper saying why they had been turned down,” Cooper said.
“[You] could see more and more children going back to Calais and Dunkirk, pushed [there] because the legal safe route had been taken out.”
Conservative MP Peter Bone also savaged the decision to scrap the Dubs Amendment, saying that traffickers are “the most evil people in the world,” who realize they can make more profit from smuggling refugees than from the illegal drug trade.