More than 300 lawyers and retired judges criticised the government’s “deeply inadequate” response to the refugee crisis.

In an open letter, published in The Times and sent to the Prime Minister, they said that the UK had “lost its way” and described the government’s offer to accommodate 20,000 Syrian refugees over five years as “too low, too slow and too narrow”.

Signatories included former lord chief justice Lord Woolf; former lord chief justice and former president of the Supreme Court Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers; and former law lords Lords Steyn and Walker.

Five retired lords justices of appeal, Sir Henry Brooke, Sir Richard Buxton, Sir Anthony Hooper, Sir Alan Moses and Sir Stephen Sedley, also signed it, as did the former president of the European Court Sir Nicolas Bratza.