Updated as of 1:51 p.m. EDT:
A local British news anchor reported Thursday afternoon that the U.K. government was working on a new plan for refugees and would make an official announcement within the next 24 hours.
Downing Street to announce within the next 24 hours a new plan for refugees and whether more can come to Britain
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) September 3, 2015
The Independent, one of Britain's most widely read newspapers, started an online campaign this week to encourage Prime Minister David Cameron and the U.K. government to invite more refugees to settle in the country. From the thousands arriving daily in eastern and southern Europe this summer, most fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries, Cameron has volunteered to take a limited number, and the "Refugees Welcome" movement aims for him to accept more.
Cameron said Tuesday the U.K. would take 1,000 refugees. More than 340,000 people have arrived since January, and some other European governments, including France and Germany, volunteered to take tens of thousands of people. Other European countries, like Hungary, have resisted accepting refugees.
The U.K. has one of the strongest economies in Europe, and thousands of refugees have said the island nation is their final destination. They cite ample job opportunities or the fact that they already speak English, which could speed assimilation.
Critics said Cameron's offer was not nearly enough given that nearly 4,000 people have been arriving almost daily on the Greek island of Lesbos alone. Numerous Labor Party politicians have chided Cameron for his decision on refugees. One Labor Party leader said Tuesday the U.K. needed to take at least 10,000 people, calling Cameron's response "immoral" and referring to it as "political cowardice."
The Independent started its campaign Wednesday after news outlets published a shocking photo of the body of a young Syrian boy, named Aylan Kurdi, washed up, face down, on a Turkish beach. He, his brother and mother all drowned trying to flee to Europe.
— Sadiq Khan MP (@SadiqKhan) September 3, 2015
"Responding to the movement of so many desperate people is not straightforward," read the announcement from The Independent, adding, "Yet it is clear that many of Europe’s existing policies are inadequate."
By Thursday morning, more than 115,000 people of the 150,000 target number had signed the newspaper's petition calling on the government to accept a greater number of refugees and #RefugeesWelcome was trending on Twitter.