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David Cameron's change of heart after boy image

By PA Reporters

Published 04/09/2015

Prime Minister David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron

Expectations are growing that Britain may open its doors to more Syrian refugees, after Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK's response was "under review".

Urgent discussions are under way in Whitehall on what form any extra help could take, and reports suggested an announcement could be made within days.

The Guardian suggested thousands more refugees could be taken from United Nations camps on the Syrian border under a scheme for vulnerable people, while Sky News reported that 4,000 more people could be offered asylum.

Mr Cameron said he was "deeply moved" by shocking pictures of a three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a beach in Turkey after he, his brother and their mother drowned in an attempt to reach Europe by boat.

Mr Cameron said: "As a father, I felt deeply moved by the sight of that young boy on a beach in Turkey. Britain is a moral nation and we will fulfil our moral responsibilities."

The Government has declined to join a UN scheme for resettling the most vulnerable refugees, instead setting up its own programme that has admitted around 216 over the past year. Some 5,000 Syrians have been granted asylum in the last four years.

By contrast, Germany has accepted 35,000 vulnerable Syrians through the UN scheme, Canada more than 10,000, Australia 5,600 and Switzerland 3,500. EC president Jean-Claude Juncker is next week expected to call for EU countries to resettle some 160,000 migrants around the continent.

Mr Cameron stressed that Britain is the second-largest bilateral donor supporting Syrian refugees in the region, with around £900m for food, tents and other aid, while it has also sent a Royal Navy ship to rescue migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean.

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