MPs have said 50 unaccompanied child refugees a day are now heading back to the “people traffickers and mud” of the Calais and Dunkirk camps, as the home secretary’s decision to close the “Dubs scheme” faced growing cross-party criticism.
The Tory MP David Burrowes was among those who criticised the government’s decision to close the scheme to bring unaccompanied child refugees in Europe to the UK after only 350 arrivals. .
Accusing ministers of having “cut and run from child refugees”, he said that when MPs and peers voted to set up the scheme last May “parliament did not intend to set a time a limit on our compassion for vulnerable child refugees in Europe”.
A second Conservative, Will Quince, the MP for Colchester, said he was “sad and disappointed” by the decision and questioned whether ministers had powers to require local councils to take more unaccompanied child refugees.
The home secretary, Amber Rudd, answering an urgent Commons question from Labour’s Yvette Cooper, tried to defend the decision to end the government’s commitment to the scheme, saying: “We do not want to incentivise journeys to Europe.”
She said the Dubs scheme had not yet closed and ministers had fulfilled their obligation to assess the capacity of local authorities to provide places for the children. “We have done that,” she said. “It is still not closed yet because we still have to transfer 150 under the amendment. We have done what we are obliged to do…