Yvette Cooper's powerful speech on the refugee crisis has won her a lot of support

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Tuesday 01 September 2015 12:30
Celebrities

Her support may be dwindling in the Labour leadership election race, but Yvette Cooper's powerful speech on the refugee crisis on Tuesday morning appears to have won over a lot of people.

Speaking in central London, the shadow home secretary said Britain's reaction to refugees seeking shelter in Europe so far had been "immoral" and "cowardly".

This has become a humanitarian crisis on a scale we have not seen on our continent since the Second World War yet we seem paralysed to respond.

Stuck in the troubled politics of immigration when this is about asylum instead.

Stuck treating immigration and asylum as the same thing when they are completely different and we should keep them so.

Stuck hiding behind disputes over student visas, illegal working or European agency workers when none of that has anything to do with refugees.

Stuck talking only about 'migrants' when we should mean fathers, sons, sisters, brothers, daughters, mothers.

Stuck in political cowardice that assumes British voters' unease about immigration means they will not forgive anyone who calls for sanctuary - even though our nation has given shelter to the persecuted for centuries - and sometimes moral leadership is needed.

And it is not just us. All of Europe is struggling to respond.

We can't carry on like this. It's immoral, it's cowardly and it's not the British way.

Her words contrasted starkly with those of home secretary Theresa May, who wrote in the Sunday Times this weekend that the refugee crisis had been exacerbated by Europe's "broken migration system" and placed blame on the "callous gangs who sell false dreams and trade on the free borders within the EU".

Many were left impressed by the words of Cooper, who is often portrayed as a politician who "sits on the fence":

But others were left wondering where this Cooper had been hiding all summer, suggesting that her strong words may be too little too late to influence the Labour leadership vote:

More: Yvette Cooper's graphics department is having a nightmare

Trending