Christians only: Tory MP backs Farage on Syrian refugees

A Syrian man carries a body out of the rubble following air raids by government forces
A Syrian man carries a body out of the rubble following air raids by government forces
Adam Bienkov By

Britain should only open its doors to Christian refugees from Syria, a leading Conservative backbencher has said.

The comments from Gerald Howarth MP came as Tory MPs reacted angrily to Theresa May's decision to allow in Syrians fleeing from the war-torn country.

Howarth backed a proposal by Ukip leader Nigel Farage to restrict access to Christians only.

"As a Christian country, we should prioritise Christians who are being persecuted in Syria," he said.


"I appreciate the home secretary's measured response to this dreadful tragedy, for which the United Kingdom has absolutely no responsibility whatsoever, but may I invite her to consider seeing it in the context of the overall impact of migration to this country in recent years?"

He added that any scheme to allow in Syrian refugees should be limited to "hundreds and not thousands."

Theresa May said refugees would be allowed in on the basis on 'vulnerability' rather than religion.

"Today our focus must be on the help that we are providing to the most vulnerable Syrian refugees" she said.

"I have indicated the categories of vulnerability that we will prioritise, but I repeat that they are survivors of torture and violence, women and children at risk and those in need of medical care."

Howarth's comments follow calls by Ukip leader Nigel Farage earlier this month for the UK to only accept Christians into the UK.

Farage told the BBC that while Muslim refugees could find sanctuary elsewhere in the region, Christians had become "a seriously persecuted minority".

Other Tory MPs privately expressed their anger yesterday at Theresa May's decision to allow some Syrian refugees into the country.

One MP openly accused the home secretary of "political posturing".

"I think people can see the political expediency of the U-turn," Andrew Bridgen told the World at One.

"It is very attractive for someone having their cornflakes tomorrow morning to read on the front page of the paper that we are doing our bit. The fact is the UK was already doing its bit."

He added: "It is pure political posturing and tokenism."

The row over Syrian refugees comes as Conservative backbenchers put increasing pressure on the government to take a tougher line on immigration.

Dozens of MPs are expected to support rebel amendments on the immigration bill later today.

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