Robert Goodwill admitted most child refugees are males in their late teens
Home secretary Amber Rudd’s deputy Robert Goodwill conceded that “a large number” of those seeking asylum in Britain are “both male and 16 and 17-year-olds” as he faced a barrage of questions from angry MPs.
A growing scandal has broken out over the true ages of some of the refugee children arriving in the UK from Calais, with Tory backbenchers saying that photographs of them indicate they are clearly over 18.
Questions have also raged over why the vast majority of the new arrivals are male youths in their late teens rather than young girls, who are especially vulnerable to rape and sexual abuse in the crime-ridden Jungle.
Batting away criticism of his department in parliament today Mr Goodwill admitted that the vast majority of the children seeking refuge in Britain are male teens, and asserted: “We’ve never tried to mislead anyone of that particular fact.”
The Minister claimed the Home Office has not misled people over child refugees
Tory MP Philip Davies called for tougher checks on refugee children’s ages
But that claim is likely to meet with an angry response from Tory backbenchers and is in direct contradiction to previous statements by his boss, Ms Rudd, who has repeatedly implied that the UK would provide shelter to the most vulnerable youngsters.
Addressing parliament less than two weeks ago the home secretary stated: “We should particularly prioritise those under the age of 12, because they are the most vulnerable.
“The UK remains committed to upholding our humanitarian responsibilities on protecting minors and those most vulnerable.”
The Home Office also frequently uses images of young children – especially girls who appear to be 12 or under – on its press releases about unaccompanied minors.
One release, entitled ‘how you can help refugees coming to the UK’ features a large photograph of a young girl smiling at the camera in a migrant camp.
But the Home Office uses images of young girls on its promotional materials about refugees
Amber Rudd had told parliament that under 12s would be prioritised
We’ve never tried to mislead anyone
But in reality, Britain has not taken in a single child refugee from the most vulnerable group of youngsters in Calais, as categorised by independent humanitarian charities.
Instead, controversy over the Home Office’s asylum policy is growing by the day as more and more teenage male migrants are brought across the Channel.
Official figures from the EU’s statistics agency, Eurostat, show that an overwhelming 83 per cent of all unaccompanied minors who claimed asylum in the UK last year were males between the ages of 14 and 17.
In stark contrast, just 15 girls under the age of 14 lodged applications for international protection, meaning they accounted for less than half a percent of the total number of 3,055 youngsters.
Today the first girl refugee was brought over from Calais as part of efforts to clear the Jungle camp before it is destroyed.
The youngster covered her head as she arrived in Britain, following in the footsteps of 50 male refugees who have come before her since the beginning of the week.
As she began her new life in the UK, a furious debate raged in parliament over the Home Office’s shambolic management of the unfolding Calais refugee scandal.
Tory MP Philip Davies said that Britons were being “taken for a ride” by groups of young, male migrants who he claimed were “clearly adults”.
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He said: “People only have to see the pictures of the so-called child refugees to see that many of them are not children.
“A large number of my constituents have contacted me to say how angry they are that we’re being taken for fools, taken for a ride and our generosity is being abused.
“Does the Minister not understand that unless a grip is taken over this then it will do irreparable damage to public confidence in the asylum system?”
His blast, tabled in an urgent parliamentary question on the issue, came after fellow Tory backbencher David Davies called for child refugees to be subjected to mandatory dental checks to ascertain their age.
The proposal was met with fury by medical experts including the British Dental Association, who said the tests were not accurate and that subjecting youngsters to X-ray radiation would be “unethical”.
Source : EXPRESS