Britain urged to take more refugees as MPs debate crisis

Britain urged to take more refugees as MPs debate crisis
PHOTO: Reuters

LONDON - British lawmakers will debate the migrants crisis on Tuesday after a leading figure in the main opposition Labour Party called for the government to be more generous in taking in Syrian refugees.

Labour leadership contender Yvette Cooper said Prime Minister David Cameron's announcement that Britain would allow in up to 20,000 refugees over the next five years from UN camps did not go far enough.

"I would urge the prime minister to reconsider and to look at what more we are able to do with councils, with communities across the country who have come forward asking to help," she said.

Cooper, who is also the shadow home secretary, said the government should consider hosting Syrian refugees who are already in Europe and not just the ones in camps on the borders with Syria.

Britain has taken in only 216 Syrian refugees under a special scheme set up last year, as well as accepting asylum requests from nearly 5,000 Syrians since the conflict there began in 2011.

Thousands of Britons have come forward in online petitions to offer their homes to host refugees and to help in their resettlement, although local councils have warned about the costs of hosting them.

More than four million Syrians have fled the conflict.

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