British Prime Minister David Cameron meets Syrian refugee families in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, on  September 14, 2015
British Prime Minister David Cameron meets Syrian refugee families in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, on September 14, 2015

Those angry with the government's narrow victory this week in defeating an amendment to the Immigration Bill which would have allowed unaccompanied Syrian child refugees to come to the UK have a new, albeit unlikely, ally.

The amendment, tabled by Labour's Lord Dubs - who himself came to the UK as a child refugee during WWII - wanted the country to take in 3,000 lone, at risk children currently living in the slum-like unofficial refugee camps of Europe.

It was rejected by 294 to 276 votes, having been backed by Labour, the SNP the Liberal Democrats and a handful of Tory rebels.

The result of the vote sparked outcry in left-leaning circles, who pointed out that Britain has a long history of accepting children in need of help, and that compared to our Eurozone partners we have taken in very few children during the current refugee crisis.

Unaccompanied children are deemed to be at the highest risk of abuse and people trafficking. In 2015, Europol estimates 85,000 lone children arrived in Europe, and 10,000 are officially missing.

But the left has found a friend in the Daily Mail, whose Thursday editorial was a 1,500 word plea for ministers to change their minds about taking in Syrian children:

But while we understand the arguments for hardening our hearts, we believe that in the exceptional circumstances of this crisis, it would be wrong to do so. True, we have no legal or treaty obligation to lift a finger to help. But our moral and humanitarian duty cannot so easily be shrugged off.

Let's be clear: the Mail accepts that this can be no more than a "token gesture", and it's still full of migrant-bashing and claims that have been proven again and again not to be true:

Nobody has been more robust than this paper in giving voice to public concerns over the impact of mass, unrestricted immigration on the social fabric of this country.

For our pains, we have been viciously attacked as ‘racist’ by a bien pensant liberal elite, cocooned in their prosperous postal districts, who have never had to compete for low-paid jobs, affordable housing, school places or hospital beds with migrants who have arrived in unprecedented numbers since Tony Blair threw open our borders.

It's also gushing in its praise for David Cameron, and a fair few cynics have noted that the editorial is a pretty pointed way of sticking it to competitor the Sun. But the bottom line is:

...frightened children are suffering in the squalid camps of France. And they need what help we can give.

(Picture: DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

MPs are set to look at the matter again on May 9th.

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