OUTRAGED MPs have likened the UK Government's decision to cap the number of lone child refugees being brought to Britain from Europe to Donald Trump's controversial travel ban.

Defending the decision, Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, said the decision to apply the cap was made after France had raised concerns that the scheme could be encouraging more children to make the perilous journey to Europe and become victims of people traffickers.

Responding to an Urgent Question in the Commons from Labour's Yvette Cooper, Ms Rudd explained: "I am clear that when working with my French counterparts they do not want us to indefinitely continue to accept children under the Dubs Amendment because they specify, and I agree with them, that it acts as a draw. It acts as a pull. It encourages the people traffickers."

But Labour's Pat McFadden said the decision risked aligning the Government with the US President's "America first" mantra.

Joanna Cherry, the SNP’s Home Affairs spokeswoman, also questioned whether the policy was the result of "cosying up" to Mr Trump.

Her Nationalist colleague, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, said: “I just do not understand what kind of perverse global leadership this is. If we have the compassion and humanity - and, indeed, the capacity, which we do - to take in more, why are we not doing so?”

The Home Secretary insisted Britain was not pulling up the drawbridge to vulnerable refugees and urged MPs “not to fall into the trap of suggesting that we are not a country that is welcoming of refugees, that is stepping up to our obligations, that is supporting with money and with refugee programmes, the most vulnerable”.

But Ms Cooper, who chairs the Home Affairs Committee, said thousands of child refugees were languishing in camps in Greece and Italy, desperate for help and at risk of abuse, exploitation and modern slavery.

Addressing Ms Rudd directly, she said: "Britain can do better than this; will she accept that and reinstate the Dubs programme now?"

However, the Secretary of State said the UK was concentrating its efforts on providing aid and resettlement to vulnerable people in crisis-hit regions such as Syria.

"I completely reject her attack. The UK has a strong reputation in Europe and internationally for looking after the most vulnerable; that will continue.

"We have a different approach to where those most vulnerable are, we believe that they are in the region. That's why we have made a pledge to accept 3,000 children form the region and we are committed to delivering on that. They are the most vulnerable."

Mr Trump's travel order indefinitely barred Syrian refugees from entering the US and suspended all refugee admissions for 120 days.

Mr McFadden, a former Europe Minister, said: "I want to ask her what signal she thinks this sends to the world in the wake of the announcement last week from President Trump, in a different context.

"There are always those who will say look after our own, charity begins at home, Britain first, America first, France first, and so on. Does she really want us to be aligned with that sentiment, or a different one?"

On Wednesday, the Government announced that 350 children would be brought to the UK under the Dubs Amendment; far fewer than the 3,000 originally expected.

Ms Cherry said the Government's decision was "completely against the spirit" of the Dubs Amendment, designed by Labour peer Lord Dubs, who was a refugee who fled the Nazis as a child, and which aims to help some of the estimated 90,000 unaccompanied migrant children across Europe.

She said: "I understand the pull argument but there are thousands of children already in Europe and many of these are unaccompanied and vulnerable. Lord Alfred Dubs has described what was done yesterday as shabby and deceitful.

"It seems the Government tried to sneak out what they knew would be a very unpopular announcement, when they were busy avoiding scrutiny in this House about the Brexit deal. Is this the shape of things to come? And is this what comes of cosying up to President Trump?"

Ms Rudd accused the Edinburgh MP of casting aspersions, insisting there had been no attempt to hide anything.

She stressed the Dubs scheme was “still open because we expect to transfer another 150 children. We have Home Office representatives in Greece and Italy to ensure that we can do that. In accordance with what the regulations set out, we had to put a number on it after consulting local authorities, and that is what we have done”.

For the Liberal Democrats, Alistair Carmichael, the former Scottish Secretary, said: "The Prime Minister never misses an opportunity to tell us that she wants to see Britain as an outward-looking player with a global vision. May I say gently to the Home Secretary that on this issue she has an opportunity to demonstrate that this country’s global vision is about more than just trade deals? Limiting our ambition to less than one per cent of the desperate children who need to be helped is not worthy of that vision."

Diane Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary, attacked the Home Secretary, saying: "How does she live with herself, leaving thousands of children subject to disease, people trafficking, squalor and hopelessness?"

Ms Abbott said many children currently in France were not being cared for and had resorted to sleeping on the streets and in informal encampments.

"The worst thing about this Government's failure to step up to the totality of the refugee crisis is the children," she added.

Ms Rudd agreed that it was the children that mattered the most and it was "an absolutely disgraceful" situation on the borders of Europe, due to the amount of people being trafficked.

"It is because we care in this way that we have put together our plan to take the refugees from the most vulnerable places," she declared.

Addressing Ms Abbott, the Secretary of State said: "She describes how she doubts that the children in France are looked after. But I can say to her the children who are the most vulnerable are the ones in the camps out in Jordan, out in Lebanon.

"These are the ones who are really vulnerable and those are the ones we are determined to bring over here, to give them the benefit of the safety in the UK," Ms Rudd added.