A Croydon MP has said he would open up his own home to refugees caught up in Europe's migrant crisis, as the world responded in horror to a photograph of a drowned Syrian toddler.

Steve Reed, Labour MP for Croydon North said today he would be prepared to follow the example of German and Icelandic citizens who have offered their homes up to refugees waiting for permanent accommodation. 

Describing the photograph of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach as "shocking and tragic",  Mr Reed also joined many of his Labour colleagues in condemning the Conservative government's response to the crisis.

The toddler is thought to have drowned along with his five-year-old brother as their family tried to reach the Greek island of Kos.

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Mr Reed said: "We have a long and proud record of helping people fleeing war and conflict, and it's shameful that our Prime Minister refuses to reach out to them.

"We are big enough to offer more sanctuary to people in Britain." 

However, Mr Reed did not suggest a number for how many refugees Britain should accept, saying this would just be "pulling a figure out of the air".

Some 216 refugees evacuated from Syria have been resettled to the UK under a five-year humanitarian shelter scheme, according to the latest figures from the Home Office, which has capped the number it will take at 1,000.

Some 4,800 asylum claims by Syrians have have been approved after they made their own way to the country during the conflict.

Gavin Barwell, Conservative MP for Croydon Central, joined Mr Reed in expressing his horror at pictures of the dead toddler, but said the UK could be "very proud" of its commitment to foreign aid.

He said: "As a father of young children myself it's a heartbreaking thing to see.

"To anyone who has got a job like mine it makes you take a long hard think about whether we are doing enough."

He also echoed comments made today by chancellor George Osborne that praised Britain's current response to the crisis.

Mr Barwell, who is a government whip, said: "I think if you look at the level of [foreign aid] spending we can be very proud, as the second biggest spenders in the world behind the US."

He said Britain had taken in about 5,000 refugees from the Syrian conflict, and agreed with the chancellor that this intake should be kept "under review".

More than 4 million refugees have fled Syria since war broke out in 2011, according to the UN's refugee agency.

This week, German chancellor Angela Merkel said she expected her country to accept 800,000 asylum seekers in 2015.

Mr Barwell said he believed his constituents in Croydon Central were "more acute" to the plight of refugees, because the country's only screening unit for new asylum seekers is based in the town centre.  

He said: "We have as a borough have experience of helping people then they arrive in this country, [so] we are more acute to the issues."

Mr Barwell's Conservative colleague Chris Philp said he found the images printed on the front pages of many of the world's national newspapers today "heartbreaking", but rejected calls for more refugees to be granted asylum in the UK.

More than 220,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Government to protect migrants. 

Mr Philp, MP for Croydon South, said: "We already welcome a very, very large number of people into this country. 

"But the real issue is the root cause of the problem. The problem is particularly [that] Syria and Libya are in enormous turmoil and you need to fix the source of the problem.

"The things we can do about that are redirect our overseas aid budget, which is one of the biggest in the world, specifically to helping people in those countries or who have left for neighbouring countries.

"For example there are lots of refugee camps in Jordan, next door to Syria, and we should put a lot of money into making sure those are running properly.

"I think also we should be making an effort to ensure Assad is toppled so that the war in Syria comes to an end."

He added: "It is a heartbreaking problem, but I think us accepting a certain number of refugees doesn't fix the problem at source and actually just encourages more people to try to cross the Mediterranean in boats that are unsafe and more people will end up dying."