Refugees: Christian MPs pile on pressure to accept more

Pressure from Christian MPs on David Cameron to accept more refugees into Britain is mounting.

Lefroy: "There has been too little in the media about the contributions Britain has already made. But now is the time for us to step up and do more."

A number of Christian Conservative MPs have said today that more refugees should be accepted into Britain.

"Now is the time for the UK to step and do more," Conservative MP Jeremy Lefroy told Christian Today this afternoon.

Lefroy, who is a Christian and a senior member of the International Development select committee, was quick to point out the work the UK was already doing. He drew attention to the £900 million the UK Government has given in response to the crisis in Syria.

"The UK has provided more to Syria than any other country in Europe," he said.

"I have seen for myself the result of that money in [neighbouring] Lebanon; children going to school and people housed who wouldn't otherwise have been thanks to the generosity of the British taxpayer."

However Lefroy added the situation with thousands fleeing the Middle East was different and Britain had an obligation to respond.

"Clearly we need to accept some more refugees," he said.

His comments come as part of a swell of pressure from backbench Conservative MPs for the Government to change its stance.

"Thousands, not hundreds" of people should be taken in, said David Burrowes, another Christian Conservative MP.

Nicola Blackwood, the Conservative MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, also a Christian, added her voice on Twitter.

"Britain has a proud history of giving sanctuary to those fleeing conflict & protecting the persecuted," she said.

"We cannot be the generation that fails this test of humanity. We must do all we can."

Ex-party chairman Baroness Warsi was among the Conservatives calling for the Government to do more.

The UK has granted asylum or another form of humanitarian support to just under 5,000 Syrians since 2011 and Cameron shows no sign of adding to that number.

"I don't think there is an answer that can be achieved simply by taking more and more refugees," he said.

The pressure from Conservative backbench MPs comes after Yvette Cooper, a Labour leadership candidate, called for Britain to accept 10,000 refugees from the Middle East earlier this week.

"If every city took 10 refugee families, if every London borough took 10 families, if every county council took 10 families, if Scotland, Wales and every English region played their part, then in a month we'd have nearly 10,000 more places for vulnerable refugees fleeing danger, seeking safety," she said.

Her comments were echoed by the other Labour leadership candidates.

A petition calling for the Government to "accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK," has gained nearly 200,000 signatures.

It will be considered for debate when Parliament resumes on 7 September.