Government Suffers Fourth Defeat On Post-Brexit Child Refugees' Rights – But Still Won't Budge

Arj Singh
·2-min read

The government has suffered a fourth defeat on protecting the rights of child refugees after Brexit.

The Lords, by a majority of 78, once again backed an amendment proposed by Lord Dubs to ensure lone child refugees in Europe maintain their right to be reunited with family in the UK once the Brexit transition ends on December 31.

It was the fourth attempt by Dubs, who came to the UK as a child fleeing the Nazis on a kindertransport, to ensure the continuation of children’s family reunion rights after Brexit.

As prime minister, Theresa May had accepted his demands and promised to maintain these rights.

But after taking office Boris Johnson deleted the protections from the flagship Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020, which enacted his Brexit deal.

Since then, Dubs has won three votes on the issue, only to see MPs throw out his amendments.

Last week, a small Tory rebellion of six MPs, including ex-ministers David Davis and Tim Loughton, was not enough to change the law.

But in a sign the government was feeling pressure, Home Office minister Baroness Williams promised to carry out a review of “safe and legal routes” for asylum seekers, including lone child refugees’ right to reunite with family in the UK, before legislating next year.

Campaigners, however, said the move would be “too late” with hundreds of children standing to lose the right to reunite with family after December 31.

Following the vote on his amendment, Dubs told HuffPost UK: “The only winners if we remove legal routes to safety for refugee children trying to reach family here are the criminals – the traffickers and people smugglers who prey on refugees.

“Closing legal routes will not mean fewer refugees making a perilous journey to safety, but it will make...

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