Bishop of Barking joins calls on Boris Johnson to allow more refugees into the UK

The Bishop of Barking Peter Hill. Picture: Ellie Hoskins

The Bishop of Barking Peter Hill. Picture: Ellie Hoskins - Credit: Archant

The Bishop of Barking has joined more than 100 faith leaders urging Boris Johnson to allow more refugees into the country.

The Rt Rev Peter Hill added his name to a letter to the new prime minister telling him the UK can do better when it comes to the number of refugees it offers sanctuary to.

The bishop said: "With a new UK government forming new policies this is a crucial moment in our country's political life and engagement for the benefit of the neediest. Brexit is far from the only major issue that confronts us."

The letter states there are people in conflict zones whose lives are in constant danger and children preyed on by traffickers.

"These are people who deserve a chance to rebuild their lives," it states.

The signatories welcome a pledge made in June by the then Home Secretary Sajid Javid which would see 5,000 people offered refuge in 2020-21 after a current agreement ends.

But the leaders urge the prime minister to declare "a lasting commitment" to welcome a fair share of people seeking a safe home.

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"We believe the UK can and must resettle more refugees," they say before adding that the Refugee Council and British Red Cross have called for resettlement to be boosted by at least 10,000 refugees a year.

And campaigners from the group Safe Passage want the UK to welcome at least 1,000 children a year from Europe and conflict zones.

"As one of the world's richest countries this is a small ask of the UK," the letter says.

In 2017 0.02per cent of the world's displaced people were refugees in the UK.

"Refugee resettlement programmes can flourish when there is political will and may flounder if that will is lacking. As our new prime minister, we ask you to show the compassionate leadership this issue deserves," the letter ends.

A government spokeswoman said: "The UK has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it and since 2015 nearly 16,000 refugees have been resettled in the UK through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

"From 2020, our new global resettlement scheme will help thousands more people fleeing conflict and persecution, including children, to build a new life in the UK."