Lord Dubs accuses government of "closing down paths to safety" for refugee children

22 December 2019, 17:48 | Updated: 22 December 2019, 17:53

Lord Dubs has condemned the government for "turning their backs" on a scheme to resettle refugee children in the UK.

Alf Dubs, who fled the Nazis on the Kindertransport between March and September, criticised the government for their alleged abandonment of a commitment to protect refugee children.

The UK is currently part of the EU’s Dublin system, which allows for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in Europe to be reunited with family members in the UK.

"One is a specific scheme limited by the government artificially to 480 [children], which is children who don't have any family here," said Lord Dubs.

"There's also a scheme, which the government is turning their backs on in the legislation that was before the commons just a couple of days ago, and that is to get relatives here.

"They're also anxious to get here and the government is simply putting a stop to that as well. So under both headings, we're closing down path to safety and that is terrible for young people."

Lord Dubs has criticised the government for dropping his amendment
Lord Dubs has criticised the government for dropping his amendment. Picture: PA Images

Reflecting on the opportunities the UK gave Lord Dubs when he arrived, he said: "This country's been fantastic for me. Absolute terrific. It has given me opportunities, it has given me safety.

"It has given me a welcome to absolutely terrific, and I would like to feel that other children coming here vulnerable will be given the same wonderful opportunities that Britain gave me."

The government has come under fire for their decision to scrap a pledge to negotiate a deal allowing refugee children in Europe with UK family to come to Britain after Brexit.