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Bosnian refugee-turned baroness in safe haven appeal to PM

A Tory peer has urged Theresa May to live up to Britain's history as a safe haven for refugees after the Government closed a scheme for unaccompanied children.

Arminka Helic, who was granted asylum in the UK after fleeing the Bosnian war, also urged people to see Britain as more than Nigel Farage and instead as "people who do amazing things".

Baroness Helic's comments came as pressure mounted on the Prime Minister over the decision to limit the Dubs scheme to just 350 children - despite many believing 3,000 young refugees would be accepted from across Europe.

Lady Helic, 48, a former special adviser to ex-foreign secretary William Hague, told The Times: "Britain has a long and proud history of giving refuge to the most vulnerable people.

"I hope that our government will find a way to live up to that ideal, even amid current challenges."

Lady Helic told how, at 23, she fled the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia 25 years ago with her mother and sisters.

She wrote to a family in Barnes, south-west London, where she had been an au pair, asking the mother, Jane, for books.

"Inside she placed a ticket to England. That is what I want to explain to people about this country, Britain is not (former Ukip leader) Farage it's Jane - people who do amazing things," Lady Helic told The Times.

She went on to study at the prestigious London School of Economics before becoming a prominent Conservative adviser and then a peer in 2014.

She is a close friend of Angelina Jolie and the pair co-run the Jolie Pitt Dalton Helic Foundation, a not-for-profit dealing with refugees and violence against women.

Mrs May defended the Government's approach to refugees as "absolutely right" while facing a chorus of protest from people including the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Home Office said youngsters would arrive from around the world through other resettlement schemes and the asylum system.


From Belfast Telegraph