It has been a bit of a mixed day in Parliament today.
In the House of Lords my Liberal Democrat colleagues, working with other parties, forced the government to look again at their refusal to allow a meaningful vote on the final deal brought back by Theresa May after the Brexit negotiations
Earlier, however, the House of Commons decided by 20 votes, to turn its back on 3,000 vulnerable unaccompanied children fleeing the war in Syria.
The Dubs amendment, named after Lord Dubs, the member of the House of Lords who was taken in by the UK after fleeing Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia who devised the amendment, guaranteed that the UK would take in a number of unaccompanied refugees fleeing the war in Syria. The number was to be agreed between the Government and local authorities.
Recently local authorities across the UK have gone above and beyond finding space for unaccompanied refugee children. Many have offered to find room, and the initial target of children to be taken in under the dubs scheme was 3,000. Just 3,000 of the most vulnerable children in the world.
Last month, the Immigration minister closed the scheme with only 350 children having been brought into the UK. That is shameful.
Today’s amendment called for local authorities to identify themselves if they had spare capacity to take in refugees. Many local authorities have said they have the capacity. The Government voted against this, and won.
And so, by a margin of 267 to 287, local authorities were not to be consulted on whether they wanted to take in more refugee children.
Closing the scheme is indefensible.
Closing the scheme is indefensible. Then blocking local authorities with capacity for more from taking more adds insult to injury.
The result was devastating. But it cannot be the end of this story. The Liberal Democrats will continue to push for Britain to take in more child refugees, and live up to the legacy, and example of the generation who took in children like Lord Dubs.