David Cameron accused of 'walking on by' over child refugees


David Cameron has insisted the UK is not "walking on by" by refusing to take in unaccompanied refugee children from Europe.

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson criticised the Prime Minister for failing to see the comparison between the children at risk in Europe and the Kindertransport scheme, which helped rescue nearly 10,000 mainly Jewish children from Nazi-occupied territories in 1938/39. 

It comes after the Government was last night defeated again in the House of Lords on the issue of unaccompanied refugee children in Europe being given refuge in the United Kingdom.

Mr Robertson said: "There are many members of that house as their are many members of this house, in all parties, including the Prime Minister's own side, who would wish us to do much much more in helping providing refuge for unaccompanied children in Europe at the present time.

"Will the Prime Minister please reconsider his opposition and stop walking on by on the other side?"

Mr Cameron said the Government has committed to taking 20,000 refugees and a further 3,000, mainly unaccompanied children, from outside of Europe. 

He said: "I don't think anyone can accuse this country of walking on by in terms of this refugee crisis. 

He added: "But where I disagree, respectfully with the House of Lords, is those people who are in European countries are in safe European countries.

"To compare somehow children or adults who are in France or Germany or Italy or Spain or Portugal or Greece, to compare that with children stuck in Nazi Germany I think is deeply wrong and we'll continue with our approach which includes, by the way, of being the second largest donor of any country anywhere in the world in to those refugee camps."

Mr Robertson said: "Just as in the 1930s there are thousands ... there's no comparison apparently, apparently there's no comparison between thousands of children needing refuge in the 1930s and thousands of children in Europe at the present time. 

"Ten thousand children in Europe have disappeared. This is an existential question about the safety of vulnerable children."