Prime Minister David Cameron was facing the threat of another revolt today, after he came under fire from members of his own party to alter his stance on the growing refugee crisis.
A number of MPs and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi have now publicly called on the UK to alter its position of restricting the number of refugees the UK allows to enter the country.
Warsi urged government to “share the burden” of the crisis with Europe.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Warsi added it is “not about an open door policy”, but the UK should be doing more, particularly for women and children, in tradition of helping refugees. “We can do more”.
These are areas upon which we have both expertise and an international reputation and I think Britain has always been a generous, open, welcoming country and we must not allow a political climate of today to step away from that proud tradition.
..at the very least we should accept more than 1% Syrian refugees because we accept more than 1% responsibility.. pic.twitter.com/fEmLqHJB2X— David Burrowes (@DavidBurrowesUK) September 3, 2015
Nadhim Zahawi and Johnny Mercer, two more Conservative MPs, have also been vocal, with Zahawi saying the UK has “failed Syria”.
Tim Montgomerie, founder of ConservativeHome, which represents UK grassroots Conservative opinion, also took to twitter to counter Cameron’s claim yesterday, urging the UK to do more to help:
David Cameron has said we should not take any more refugees. We could hardly take any fewer. pic.twitter.com/CsAeKR1oHr— Tim Montgomerie (@montie) September 2, 2015
This puts further pressure on number 10 to change its stance on how many refugees are allowed to enter the UK, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged uniform European asylum policies, while a senior politician in Merkel’s alliance said the UK’s current position on refugees could negatively impact on Cameron’s renegotiation attempts.
Official figures showed the UK has accepted just 216 migrants from Syria under the Syrian vulnerable persons relocation scheme, fewer than the number of seats on a London Tube train. This compares with Germany, which anticipates receiving 800,000 migrants next year, and Sweden, which have a blanket policy of accepting all migrants from Syria.
Yesterday Cameron defended the UK’s position on the crisis, saying: "I don't think there is an answer that can be achieved simply by taking more and more refugees."
We are taking action right across the board - we're helping the countries from which these people are coming, stabilising them and trying to make sure that there are worthwhile jobs and stronger economies there.
Pressure grew further after an image of a dead three-year-old boy found on a Turkish beach was circulated on the internet, and put on the front page of a number of newspapers.
As pressure has grown, more of Cameron’s own party have confirmed they do not have faith in his strategy to help vulnerable refugees.
Pressure has also grown from other parties, with Labour leadership candidates Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham pushing for Cameron to accept more vulnerable people. Burnham said:
David Cameron cannot continue to turn his back on the crisis. It is time for him to show leadership and restore Britain’s reputation as a country that has always provided refuge to the vulnerable.