Labour MP Yvette Cooper has sparked rare applause in the House of Commons for demanding that David Cameron accept lone child refugees from Europe.
Cooper, chair of Labour's refugee taskforce, spoke out at Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday after MPs voted down a plan to accept 3,000 lone child refugees from Europe.
The government has opposed the plan, spearheaded by Labour peer Alf Dubs, citing fears it will encourage more refugees to make the dangerous journey from Syria and other conflict zones.
Cameron told SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson earlier during PMQs that child refugees were in "safe European countries".
But a visibly emotional Cooper said: "The prime minister has just suggested that child refugees alone in Europe are safe. There are children's homes full in Italy and Greece and over 1,000 children will sleep rough in Greece alone tonight. How are they safe?
"Ten thousand children have disappeared in Europe – how are they safe? The agencies say the children are committing 'survival sex', they are being abused, subject to prostitution and rape.
"It is not insulting other European countries to offer to help – they want us to help. So will he reconsider his position on Alf Dubs' amendment before it comes back to the vote and stop with his attitude to lone child refugees putting this House and this country to shame?"
Her powerful question drew applause from some Labour colleagues and SNP MPs. Applause is rare in the House of Commons chamber as it is frowned on by the Speaker.
Cameron hit back: "We are helping other European countries, not least with the £10 million we recently announced. But I would say the crucial point is this – how do we in Britain best help child refugees?
"We think we help them by taking them from the refugee camps, taking them from Lebanon, taking them from Jordan, taking them when they come to this country – that's what we're doing and we have a proud record and nothing to be ashamed of."
Emily Ashton is a senior political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Emily Ashton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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