UK
14/09/2015 14:27 BST | Updated 14/09/2015 14:59 BST

Richard Harrington MP Appointed Minister For Syrian Refugees By David Cameron

Matthias Schrader/AP
Children smile into the camera behind a fence in a temporary holding center for migrants near the border line between Serbia and Hungary in Roszke, southern Hungary in Roszke, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and others are still making their way slowly across Europe, seeking shelter where they can, taking a bus or a train where one is available, walking where it isn't. The latest string of walkers made their way Friday from the Hungarian border across Austria t

David Cameron has appointed a Tory backbencher to head up a new ministerial post, charged with delivering the Government's commitment to taking 4,000 Syrian refugees a year until 2020.

Richard Harrington, MP for Watford since 2010, has been given the cross-departmental brief and told to co-ordinate Britain's "supportive" pledge to help house desperate migrants fleeing the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad.

A hotly-anticipated announcement by the Prime Minister on Parliament's first day back after the Summer recess revealed Britain would home 1/200th of the figure Germany said they would take.

The revelation sparked outcry from some in Westminster that senior ministers were not doing enough to stem the growing migration crisis engulfing Europe.

refugee crowd

Hundreds of migrants have marched across Europe in search of safety

Harrington was given a new role at the top table on Monday as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, his new job falling under the remit of the Home Office, Communities, and Local Government departments.

But his accession came as it emerged that just last week he had voted against taking in any more refugees than already mandated, refusing to back an SNP vote before Parliament that called for an increase in the "humanitarian initiatives to provide sanctuary".

Of Harrington's new role, Oxfam Syria crisis policy manager Daniel Gorevan gently praised the Government and told journalists: "This dedicated post must now progress the urgent resettlement of the most vulnerable refugees without delay.

He added: "As this appalling conflict continues to exacerbate the refugee crisis, the Government should continue to review the number of Syrian refugees resettled in the UK and play a leading role to help bring this conflict to an end".

The 57-year-old MP's promotion coincided with a plea from Cameron, urging Britain to give a "warm welcome" to Syrian refugees, as he visited some of those who will benefit from his decision to take in 20,000 of the most vulnerable people from camps in the region.

syrian refugee

The PM meeting Syrian refugees on Monday

The Prime Minister met families living in the bleak surroundings of the Dalhamiyet Zahle camp less than a mile from the Syrian border in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, where 525 Syrians - including many children - are crowded into 90 tents laid out in ranks behind a breeze-block wall.

He was invited into the tent of a mother-of-10, who told him how she struggled to feed her family on reduced handouts of 13.50 US dollars (£8.75) a month after the World Food Programme was forced to cut back support.

READ MORE: