Boris Johnson
  • Boris Johnson's government branded "disgraceful" and "inhumane" after MPs reject move to include protections for child refugees in Brexit bill.
  • Downing Street insisted that it was committed to protecting the rights of child refugees.
  • Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron said Tory MPs had "earned the labels" of "insular and inhumane" by voting against the measures.
  • The Commons voted by 348 to 252 against the amendment, which had been accepted by the previous Conservative government.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Boris Johnson has been accused of abandoning child refugees after his government dropped protections for unaccompanied children attempting to join their families in the UK.

The House of Commons voted by 348 to 252 against the amendment to the Brexit bill, which had been accepted by the previous Conservative government, which would have permitted unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with family members after Brexit.

Alf Dubs, the Labour peer who successfully campaigned for the amendment to be added to the EU Withdrawal Bill in 2016, said it was a "very depressing" outcome.

"It is very disappointing that the first real act of the new Boris Johnson government is to kick these children in the teeth. It is a betrayal of Britain's humanitarian tradition and will leave children who are very vulnerable existing in danger in northern France and in the Greek islands," he said.

All proposed amendments to the government's proposed Brexit bill - which is expected to pass its third and final reading in the Commons today - failed under the weight of the new government's 80-strong majority.

Downing Street insisted after the vote that it was committed to protecting the rights of child refugees.

Johnson's press secretary said the provisions in the Dubs amendment would remain government policy but said there was no need for it to be included as part of the government's negotiating mandate.

"Our policies on child refugees has not changed," he said.

He said the government's decision to water down the clause 37 of the bill had the purpose of "clarifying the role of parliament and government in the negotiations."

During the debate, shadow Brexit minister said the move was an "astonishing breach of faith with some of the most vulnerable children in the world."

Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron said Tory MPs had "earned the labels" of "insular and inhumane" by voting against the amendment.

But Brexit minister Robin Walker said: "This Government is fully committed both to the principle of family reunion and to supporting the most vulnerable children. Our policy has not changed.

"We will also continue to reunite children with their families under the Dublin Regulation during the implementation period."

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