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14 February 2017

Top public figures and campaigners urge Theresa May to save ‘Dubs’ scheme

Over 200 leading public figures are calling on Theresa May not to end the Dubs scheme for vulnerable child refugees in Europe.

In an open letter, Carey Mulligan, Gary Lineker, Keira Knightley, Sir Mark Rylance and Ralph Fiennes are among a host of leading lights – backed by Help Refugees and Citizen UK’s Safe Passage programme – asking the government to reconsider their decision to close the ‘Dubs’ scheme.

The letter comes just days after it was announced that the ‘Dubs’ scheme would end at the end of the financial year, due to a lack of places identified by councils for the children. Many council leaders have since come forward to reconfirm their commitment to the scheme, and the letter urges the government to “agree to extend the programme and re-consult with councils immediately.”

Many of those who have signed the letter have seen first-hand the grim realities of life in the refugee camps of Europe. All believe the government can and should be doing more for the most vulnerable unaccompanied child refugees in Europe.

The letter has been signed by over 200 public figures including authors, actors, musicians and broadcasters. A full list is below.

Last night at the BAFTAs, Ken Loach lambasted the government on their failure to keep their promise on child refugees. A number of attendees, including Viggo Mortensen and Tracey Seaward, wore “Dubs Now” pin badges.

This comes as Safe Passage revealed that there are 2,300 unaccompanied minors in Greece around half of whom street homeless. Safe Passage estimates that upwards of 920 of these children would be eligible for transfer under the Dubs amendment which government announced would only assist a further 150 minors. The minors have on average been out of school for three years.

Josie Naughton, Co-Founder of Help Refugees, said: “The outpouring of support for the continuation of the Dubs scheme by these well-known figures and the public demonstrates that its closure is at odds with the British values that make this country great.

“We ask that the government finds a way to do more to protect these vulnerable children fleeing war and conflict just as we did before the Second World War’”

Rabbi Janet Darley, Spokesperson for Citizens UK’s Safe Passage project, said: “We welcome the intervention by this broad range of public figures. Voices right across society are challenging the government’s decision to close the ‘Dubs’ and the lifeline it offers to the most vulnerable child refugees because we know it reflects our true national character.

Shutting the door on refugee children leaves them with a terrible choice of train tracks on the one hand and people traffickers on the other. Councils and communities across the country stand ready to do more, we appeal to the government to live up to our proud history of offering sanctuary to the most vulnerable child refugees. Britain is better than this.”

The letter

Dear Prime Minister,

The government’s decision to close the “Dubs” lifeline for vulnerable refugee children is truly shameful.

The idea that as a country we will slam the door shut after just 350 children have reached safety is completely unacceptable.

Lord Dubs was himself a child saved by Sir Nicholas Winton who rescued 669 children virtually single-handed.

It is embarrassing that the Prime Minister’s entire government will not even manage to match the example set by her former constituent all those years ago, let alone the efforts of the Kindertransport movement of which he was a part which saved 10,000 children from the Nazis.

It is clear from the work of charities like Citizens UK’s Safe Passage project and Help Refugees with unaccompanied child refugees across Greece, Italy and France that where these safe and legal routes are blocked, children are left with a terrible choice between train tracks on the one hand and people traffickers on the other.

The government’s threadbare consultation with councils is now nine months out of date.

The country we know and love is bigger than this. Communities and councils across the country stand ready to do more. The government must agree to extend the programme and re-consult with councils immediately.

Yours truly,

Akram Khan
Alex Jennings
Alice Temperley
Amanda Craig
Amanda Jennings
Andrew O’Hagan
Anish Kapoor
Anna Maxwell Martin
Anne Fine
Anoushka Shankar
Anthony McGowan
Antonia Honeywell
Antony Gormley
Arlene Phillips
Barbara Broccoli
Beeban Kidron
Bella Freud
Ben Drew aka Plan B
Ben Whishaw
Benedict Cumberbatch
Betsy Tobin
Bill Nighy
Bill Paterson
Billy Bragg
Blake Morrison
Candy Gourlay
Carey Mulligan
Carol Drinkwater
Caroline Flack
Charlotte Gainsbourg
Charlotte Mendelson
Chris Cleave
Christina Koning
Clare Morpurgo
Daniel Hahn
David Hare
David Heyman
David Lan
David Morrissey
David Nicholls
Dawn O’Porter
Douglas Booth
Ed Simons
Ed Skrein
Edgar Wright
Edna O’Brien
Elif Shafak
Emilia Fox
Emily Eavis
Emma Freud
Emma Thompson
Esther Freud
Evie Wyld
Fiona Dunbar
Frances Thomas
Francesca Simon
Frank Cottrell Boyce
Gary Lineker
Gok Wan
Hannah Beckerman
Harriet Lane
Harriet Walter
Helen Dunmore
Helena Kennedy QC
Henry Goodman
Henry Porter
Hot Chip
Hugh Brody
Ian Rickson
Imogen Stubbs
Jack Harries
James McConnachie
Jamie Byng
Jamie Cullum
Jane Casey
Jane Harris
Jane Johnson
Jane Wellesley
Jane Wickenden
Jason Flemyng
Jason Isaacs
Jemma Redgrave
Jeremy Hardy
Jessica Fellowes
Jessie Burton
Jessie Ware
Joanna Briscoe
Joanna Trollope
Joanne Harris
Joe Wright
Joely Richardson
John McCarthy
John Wilson
Jojo Moyes
Jon Courtenay Grimwood
Jon McGregor
Jonny Lee Miller
Jude Law
Judy Astley
Julia Williams
Julie Bertagna
Juliet Stevenson
Kate Mosse
Kate Pullinger
Katharine Quarmby
Katharine Rundell
Katherine Langrish
Keira Knightley
Keren David
Kit Berry
Lauren St John
Lee Hall
Lesley Manville
Lia Williams
Lily Allen
Lily Cole
Linda Grant
Lisa Appignanesi
Liz Fremantle
Lu Hersey
Lucy Coats
Lucy Daniel Raby
Lucy Popescu
Lynda Edward
Maggie O’Farrell
Mark Rylance
Mary Hoffman
Mary Kay Wilmers
Matt Smith
Meg Rosoff
Meredith Miller
Michael Morpurgo
Michael Winterbottom
Mick Moon
Miranda Gold
Miranda Richardson
Nadifa Mohamed
Nell Leyshon
Nicci Gerrard
Nick Dewey
Nicky Matthews Browne
Nicole Farhi
Nina Killham
Noel Fielding
Noma Dumezweni
Paloma Faith
Patricia Ferguson
Patrick Gale
Paul Dowswell
Pauline Chandler
Penny Dolan
Peter Bently
Peter Bunzl
Philip Pullman
Philippa Stjernsward
Pippa Harris
Ralph Fiennes
Rebecca Abrams
Rhiannon Lassiter
Rhys Ifans
Richard Davenport-Hines
Rick Smith
Riz Ahmed
Roger Allam
Lord Richard Rogers of Riverside
Roger Protz
Rose Boyt
Rowan Coleman
Dr Rowan Williams
Ruby Wax
Ruth Negga
Ruth Rogers
Sabrina Guinness
Salley Vickers
Sam Baker
Sam Frears
Samira Osman
Sandi Toksvig
Sarah Dunant
Sarah Waters
Sonia Friedman
Sophie Dahl
Stephen Daldry
Stephen Frears
Stephen Poliakoff
Steven Knight
Tammy Cohen
Terence Blacker
Terry Stiastny
Tess Morris
Tim Piggott-Smith
Tom Odell
Tom Rowlands
Tom Stoppard
Tracey Seaward
Tracy Chevalier
Ursula Owen
Vanessa Harbour
Vicken Parsons
Vicky McClure
Zoe Wanamaker