David Cameron's promise to take up to 20,000 extra Syrian refugees over the course of his current term as prime minister does "absolutely not" go far enough, according to Natalie Bennett. The Green leader, in the first part of her in-depth video interview with IBTimes UK, has called on the Conservative government to take thousands more refugees as the humanitarian crisis continues its tragic course.
"When we have the world facing the worse refugee crisis since the end of the Second World War, when we are seeing so many people still dying in the desperate hunt for safety – that clearly isn't enough. Britain should be taking its fair share of refugees," Bennett said.
The left-winger also argued it was morally and legally right for the UK government to do more as well as acknowledging that "many of these refugees are fleeing situations in which our previous policies of military adventurism had a significant role."
When pressed on the exact number of refugees Britain should be taking, the Green leader said it was "hard to know exactly" because of the fluid nature of crisis. But Bennett did suggest that the "fair share" figure could be about 240,000 extra refugees up to May 2020.
"There are two million people seeking refugee in the whole of Europe, Britain is 12% of the EU by population, therefore, we should be looking at taking our fair share, which would be about 240,000 refugees," the 49-year-old said.
"That's not a target or an absolute figure, but I think we need to be fair to the British public when we say 'we should take our fair share'. To put that into context, that's one refugee for every 266 Britons or a 0.4% increase in Britain's population."
The Australian-born politician also argues that such a surge in refugee numbers would be welcomed by the British people, citing the "community support" spirit and "humanitarian impulse" that has emerged since the crisis began. The comments come after Cameron U-turned on his refugee policy and promised to take up to 20,000 Syrian refugees from UN camps over the next five years.
The prime minister told MPs that Britain had a "moral responsibility" to take the extra numbers. "Given the scale of the crisis and the suffering of the Syrian people, it's right that we should do much more," he said on 7 September.