EU migrant crisis: Labour leadership contender Yvette Cooper urges government to accept 50,000 refugees

James Nickerson
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Yvette Cooper said refugees already in Europe should also be accepted by the UK (Source: Getty)

As David Cameron prepares to outline details of how many refugees the UK will take in parliament later today, labour leadership candidate Yvette Cooper has indicated that 50,000 or more refugees should be accepted into the country.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Cooper commended Cameron’s anticipated statement today accepting more refugees: “That would be really helpful if he does. I asked councils how many places they could offer so that we can build up that number from the ground up. It is really important that Britain does not turn its back.”

Read more: Prime Minister David Cameron to outline UK plan for refugees

The Prime Minister said on Friday that the UK will welcome “thousands” more refugees, who will come from Syrian camps, as he hoped to discourage refugees from taking “perilous journeys”.

However, Cooper said Britain must go further by taking refugees who have already arrived in Europe, as well as the camps, in order to ease pressure on other European nations such as Greece.

The shadow home secretary’s interventions on the refugee crisis have caused bookmakers cut odds on her winning the election over the last week, with Cooper overtaking fellow contender Andy Burnham.

Last week Betway slashed odds on Cooper winning the contest to 3/1, down from 10/1. Betway's Alan Alger said:

Yvette Cooper's recent comments on the refugee crisis look to have earned her plenty of support and we think her bid for Labour leadership is far stronger as a result.

Read more: Corbyn and Burnham will share homes with Syrian refugees

But Jeremy Corbyn remains the frontrunner in the final countdown to the result, which is due on Saturday.

Cooper also urged the government not to cut any funding to support Syria or the refugee camps, the day after chancellor George Osborne announced the money to pay for the incoming refugees will be taken from the UK’s £12bn international aid budget.

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