UK
29/12/2013 10:24 GMT | Updated 29/12/2013 11:33 GMT

Nigel Farage: Syrian Refugees Should Be Allowed Into Britain

Christopher Furlong via Getty Images
Farage on Syria

Nigel Farage has urged the government to let Syrian refugees into Britain.

The Ukip leader said people in Syria who were "fleeing literally in fear of their lives" should be admitted into this country.

In doing so, he said their plight was distinct to economic migrants, which Ukip has campaigned fiercely against.

"I think refugees are a very different thing to economic migration and I think that this country should honour the spirit of the 1951 declaration on refugee status that was agreed," he told BBC News.

"It was agreed with the UN and even through the European Court, which sadly has changed its role. But the original ideas of defining what a refugee is were good ones.

"I think actually there is a responsibility on all of us in the free West to try and help some of those people in Syria fleeing literally in fear of their lives."

The Government has rejected calls to admit Syrian refugees, arguing that it is better to provide financial support to people in the region.

His call was welcomed by many pundits:

And prompted confusion for some:

Ukip has been at the forefront of campaigning against the lifting of visa restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals on January 1, and has been accused of "scaremongering" over the numbers planning on coming here and their impact on public service.

Farage's Syria intervention came after the three main party leaders - David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg - last week issued a rare joint statement backing the United Nations' £4 billion appeal for assistance.