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Yvette Cooper

Britain should welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees just as it welcomed 10,000 Jewish children from Europe before the Second World War, according to Labour leadership challenger Yvette Cooper.

The shadow home secretary, who is currently trailing in third behind Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Burnham, said there was now a “humanitarian crisis on a scale we have not seen on our continent since WW2”.

In a speech on the refugee crisis, she said: “Remember how this year we marked the death of Sir Nicholas Winton, the man who helped arrange the kindertransport from Prague after the devastation of Kristallnacht.”

She said: “Within days an immigration bill passed Parliament. An appeal went out, and British families responded. Three weeks later the first children arrived. Over the next nine months, 10,000 came. 10,000! What are we doing now? Refusing to take any refugees from the Mediterranean.”

Cooper was speaking ahead of a key European meeting to agree a joined-up approach to the migrant crisis, with Britain having only taken in 240 Syrian refugees thus far.