12:00PM, Thursday 16 February 2017
Sir Nicholas Winton, who died in 2015 aged 106, with Theresa May.
A refugee rights campaigner has said he is ‘bitterly disappointed’ by the government’s decision to stop providing sanctuary for lone child refugees.
Lord Dubs, who came to the UK shortly before the Second World War as part of the Kindertransport organised by Maidenhead’s Sir Nicholas Winton, blasted the announcement from the Home Office on Wednesday, February 8, that the scheme is to end.
The Labour peer claimed the man known as the British Schindler for his role in rescuing Jewish children from Europe on the eve of the conflict would be horrified.
Asked why he thought the decision had been taken, he said: “I think the government is just obsessed with keeping the [immigration] numbers down and they don’t want to fit any more immigrants into the country.
“I can’t believe it, it’s something I believe has quite a large level of public support and shows this country in a good light – and all the more so when we’ve got people like [Donald] Trump in the United States.”
Known as the Dubs Scheme, the policy had hoped to help up to 3,000 children stranded in Europe without their families, but is only thought to have provided haven for about 350 before it was scrapped.
The government claimed local authorities were unable to shoulder the burden of providing for so many vulnerable youngsters.
But Lord Dubs claimed the opposite is the case, saying many councils were keen to take in more.
Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray), the Royal Borough’s cabinet member for adult services and health, said it was a ‘shame’ to see the end of the scheme, but that he was unable to comment any more as it did not directly involve the borough.
RBWM did not take part in the resettlement of lone child refugees, but has been involved in providing shelter for families.
Two have already been settled, with a third due to arrive in the coming weeks.
At the time of writing, Downing Street had yet to provide a direct response from the Prime Minister.
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