Tory MPs press David Cameron to take in more refugees


David Cameron faced growing calls from Conservative MPs for Britain to take in more refugees as shocking pictures of a drowned Syrian boy piled pressure on Europe's leaders to act.

The Prime Minister has insisted that taking in more refugees will not solve the European migration crisis.

A Government spokesman described the pictures as "clearly shocking" but said the UK is at the forefront of international efforts to help refugees in the Middle East.

But Tory backbenchers have joined growing calls for Britain to do more, including Nadhim Zahawi, an ally of Mr Cameron who sits on the No 10 policy board.

The MP for Stratford-on-Avon is an Iraqi immigrant who came to the UK with his family aged nine after fleeing Saddam Hussein's regime.

He wrote on Twitter: "We r nothing without compassion. Pic should make us all ashamed. We have failed in Syria. I am sorry little angel, RIP."

Tom Tugendhat, MP for Tonbridge, Edenbridge and Malling, said: "I've spoken to many in west Kent who want us to do more and I agree with them. Our common humanity demands action at home and abroad."

David Burrowes, MP for Enfield Southgate, told the Telegraph: "At the very least what we should be doing is accepting more than 1% of Syrian refugees because we accept more than 1% responsibility. We should be looking in the region of thousands rather than hundreds."

Mr Cameron is facing growing pressure to act, with Labour leadership hopeful Andy Burnham calling for a Commons debate and vote on the crisis next week and rival Yvette Cooper suggesting Britain could take in 10,000 extra Syrians.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the Government's refusal to take more than a few hundred refugees was "morally wrong" and "politically foolish" while Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "We must do more."

Senior German politicians have also called on Mr Cameron to do more, with one warning that the PM's plans to renegotiate Britain's membership of the European Union could be harmed by a failure to act.

Italian minister for European affairs Sandro Gozi indicated that the Prime Minister may lose support for his plans to curb benefits for migrants if Britain continues to exercise its status outside the Schengen free movement area in relation to the migration crisis.

Mr Gozi told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It is clear that in front of this mess, in front of this particularly serious crisis, we would welcome that every country take on more responsibility.

"When it comes to the UK, the UK has a special status but if you have a special status you cannot seek to shape policy in which you don't want to participate."