Child refugees: We could have and we should have honoured our moral obligation

Last night, the Dubs Amendment was voted down by the government. Frankly, this was a measure that ought to have gone beyond party politics. This was an opportunity to shelter 3,000 children who are currently alone in Europe. They are vulnerable to exploitation and to abuse. They should not have been abandoned.

I’ve often criticised the Conservative Party, and will continue to do so. They will be judged harshly by history on the vote last night. That the amendment was tabled by Lord Dubs, a beneficiary of another measure to safeguard vulnerable children was fitting. It would have been yet more fitting if the legacy of the Kindertransport had been suitably honoured.  Despite our opposition, it is important to pay tribute to Geoffrey Cox, Tania Mathias, Stephen Phillips, Will Quince and David Warburton. They were brave enough to defy their whips, and had the courage not to simply abstain.

Last night, MPs from across the political divide represented the best qualities of Britain. Unfortunately, the government chose a different path. I urge the government to think again, and will commit to backing any fresh amendment that is in the same spirit as the one voted down last night.