Prime Minister David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron has said the 20,000 refugees from Syria he intends to accept into the UK over the next five years are “the modern-day equivalent of the Kindertransport”.

The comparison came in a House of Commons exchange on Monday, in response to a question from Father of the House Gerald Kaufman, MP for Gorton, who compared the government’s response to Germany, which took 10,000 in one day.

Kaufman spoke about how his family in 1939 offered refuge to a girl who had come to the UK on the Kindertransport, in response to which Cameron said the 20,000 from the camps would be “the modern-day equivalent of the Kindertransport”.

On the difference between migrants and refugees, Cameron added: “There are people crossing who are economic migrants in search of a better life… You need to discourage people from making that trip if they are not refugees.”

Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn raised the prospect of working with Iran on the question of refugees, now that a nuclear deal had been done. Cameron responded that there was still a need to be cautious of Iran, given their funding of terrorist organisations like Hamas and Hezbollah.

“I know the Right Honourable gentleman considers them friends,” said Cameron, “but I consider them very much as enemies”.