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10 February 2017

Daughter of Sir Nicholas Winton makes direct appeal to Prime Minister not to close Dubs scheme

Barbara Winton, the daughter of Sir Nicholas Winton, who rescued 669 children from Nazi-occupied Europe as part of the Kindertransport programme, has written an open letter to the Prime Minister, Theresa May, appealing for her not to close the Dubs scheme.

Dear Prime Minister,

Donald Trump’s refugee ban echoes the terrible failures of the human spirit that, on the eve of the Second World War, saw country after country close its borders to Jewish refugees in urgent need of protection.

My father Sir Nicholas Winton knew that each and every one of us share in a responsibility to our fellow men and women, a responsibility to offer sanctuary to those fleeing persecution. “If it’s not impossible” he used to say, then surely something could and something must be done. His efforts saw 669 children rescued, a part of the Kindertransport programme that saved 10,000 lives.

Lord Alf Dubs, who brought an amendment last year providing for unaccompanied refugee children in Europe to once again be brought to safety in Britain, was himself one of those 669.

The government has now announced the total figure of children to be helped through Alf’s amendment and, sadly, has announced a close to the programme. Barely 200 children have been helped to date and Citizens UK’s Safe Passage Project and Help Refugees teams are coping with the fallout in Greece and Italy following the news that the government will only commit to helping 150 more. 

Every single child’s life is worth every single thing we can give. That the country has taken any of these children show my father’s spirit lives on.

As my father’s MP I know he deeply valued the relationship he had with you towards the end of his life, and at his memorial you very generously described him as “an enduring example of the difference that good people can make even in the darkest of times” and said “I hope that his life will serve as an inspiration for us all…and encourage us to do the right thing”.

As the world once again teeters on the edge of dark times, I ask you to remember those words.

Yours sincerely

Barbara Winton