5 Sep 2015

Finnish PM: ‘refugees can stay at my home’

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila offers his second home to refugees, as Europe continues to struggle with an influx of migrants.

Speaking to state television on Saturday, Mr Sipila said that his country home, situated north of the Finnish capital Helsinki, was “not being used much at the moment”.

“I hope this becomes some kind of people’s movement that will inspire many others to shoulder part of the burden in this refugee housing crisis.

“We should all take a look in the mirror and ask how we can help,” Sipila told national broadcaster YLE.

Channel 4 News asked British Prime Minister David Cameron whether he would be willing to host refugees in his country home.

A spokesperson at Number 10 declined to comment and referred Channel 4 News to Mr Cameron’s statement on Friday, where he said that Britain would take “thousands more” refugees from Syria.

Channel 4 News asked the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, whether he would open up his official residence of Chevening, which has 115 rooms. A foreign office spokesperson also referred Channel 4 News to the prime minister’s statement.

Labour leadership candidates Andy Burnham and Jeremy Corbyn told Channel 4 News that they would take in Syrian refugees to their homes.

Channel 4 News understands that Liz Kendall rents a flat and has no room to house refugees. The Leicester West MP said: “This statement from the Finnish PM reflects the horror and frustration there has been in response to the refugee crisis.

“In Britain we’ve got a Prime Minister who has shown himself to be both heartless and powerless to act.”

Finland’s government doubled its estimate for the number of asylum seekers in the country this year up to 30,000.

More than 350,000 refugees and migrants have reached the borders of the Europe Union this year.

In recent weeks, many have arrived in Hungary after travelling from Greece through Balkan countries. Thousands continue to arrive in Southern Europe after crossing the Mediterranean Sea, usually in rickety boats. Over 2,000 have died at sea so far this year, including 30-40 on Friday who were reported drowned off Libya’s coast.