POLITICS
03/09/2015 09:37 BST | Updated 03/09/2015 09:59 BST

Refugee Crisis: George Osborne Says UK 'Will Go On Taking People' As He Blames Isis And Criminal Gangs For Shocking Death

George Osborne has held Isis and criminal gangs responsible for the death of a drowned three-year-old boy attempting to escape Syria as he said the UK "will go on taking" refugees.

Pressure on the Government to accept more asylum seekers has been fuelled by the shocking image of Aylan Kurdi shared across social media yesterday and featured on the front page of most national newspapers this morning.

The Chancellor argued the root of the refugee problem stems from the instability in conflict-wrought countries, adding the first stage is to "tackle Isis [Islamic State] and the criminal gangs who killed that boy".

He pointed to the £1 billion of aid spent on helping "desperate people" and 5,000 Syrian asylum seekers resettled since the start of the conflict, but hinted more could be done as he suggested the situation was under review.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Osborne said there is no person who would not be "very shocked by that picture", but added: "We know there is not a simple answer to this crisis. What you need to do is first of all tackle Isis [Islamic State] and the criminal gangs who killed that boy, you’ve got to make sure the aid keeps coming.

"We’ve put £1bn of overseas aid in to help these desperate people. And, of course, Britain has always been a home to real asylum seekers, genuine refugees. We’ve taken 5,000 people from the Syrian conflict.

"We will go on taking people and keeping it under review. Britain has been playing a leading role and it will continue to do so."

UPDATE:

His Name Was Aylan Kurdi

Heartbreaking Cartoons Capture World's Sadness Over Drowned Syrian Boy

Labour's Yvette Cooper has claimed 10,000 people could take refuge in the UK and Harriet Harman, Labour's acting leader has written to David Cameron saying an emergency Cobra meeting should be convened to agree a cross-government plan.

Tory backbenchers have even broken cover to express their discomfort with Britain's position, and more than 125,000 have signed a government e-petition demanding a Commons debate.

Critics have seized on a figure suggesting the UK has resettled just 216 Syrian refugees since the start of the crisis.

But that is under just one scheme, the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation programme, over ordinary asylum intake.

The Full Fact website says the UK has taken in about 5,000 Syrian refugees since 2011.