UK takes just 50 refugees from Syrian conflict this year

Britain has offered asylum to only 50 people seeking to escape the violence in Syria under a government scheme set up in January, prompting one MP to brand the figure "absolutely shaming".

John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, said the level of support being offered to Syrian refugees was "just not acceptable - it's not civilised behaviour ... this is a disgrace".

Syrian refugees at a camp in Nizip, near the Turkish-Syrian border Credit: Reuters

Security and immigration minister James Brokenshire said the intention of the vulnerable persons relocation scheme was to relocate two to three families a month, working "on the basis of need" rather than to a quota.

He said that the UK had granted asylum to more than 2,700 Syrians since the conflict began in 2011.

Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather told a Westminster Hall debate that "a mere 4,084" Syrians had applied for asylum in the UK, adding: "It is a drop in the ocean."

The MP for Brent Central, who led the debate, said that 2.8 million Syrian refugees - half of whom were children - had fled to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.