Welsh Labour MP ‘frankly feels ashamed’ of the UK’s response to Ukraine’s refugee crisis
A Welsh Labour MP has said that she “frankly feel rather ashamed of the UK” after it was revealed that only 50 applications for Ukrainian refugees to come to the UK had been processed.
Speaking on Westminster Hour, Llanelli MP Nia Griffith said that many of her constituents had written to her expressing their disappointment that they were not being allowed to help in taking people fleeing the Russian invasion of the country.
She added that many Ukrainians would want to come to the UK as their second or third language was English. Some 18% of Ukrainians can speak English.
“I mean, first of all, we’ve heard that only 50 applications have been processed but that 5000 have actually been completed online and another 11,000 have been started online,” Nia Griffith said. “So quite clearly there are people who would like to come here.
“And I do think that we have a responsibility to share the burden with Poland and the other neighbouring countries that have got nearly 700,000 Ukrainians who arrived literally in the last week.
“And although it could be very convenient for some of them to want to stay close, we have seen on our television screens how many of them are confident about using English and they may find it comforting to be in a country where they can understand the language and so I think we do have something to offer them.
“And as they all have ID cards it should not be difficult to simply record and process people as they come here. And I’m sure that that could be done very successfully.
“And I do quite frankly feel rather ashamed of the UK as to many of my constituents who have written to me who’ve made all sorts of offers to take in Ukrainians themselves, and are seeing other European countries bear the brunt of the work and would like to share that.”
Speaking earlier today Prime Minister Boris Johnson seemed to play down a suggestion by Home Secretary Priti Patel that individuals would no longer need family links to come to the UK.
Speaking to reporters at RAF Northolt, he told the press: “Clearly this, this crisis, is evolving the whole time. I’ve said before that the UK will be as generous as we can possibly be and we intend to do that.
“We have two very, very generous routes already – so the family reunion route, which is uncapped, which could potentially see hundreds of thousands of people come to this country, plus the humanitarian route.
“Under that scheme, people can sponsor people coming from Ukraine.”
Speaking on Sky News, Europe minister James Cleverly said that the figure seemed “small” but that more applications were being processed.
“We have made it absolutely clear we want to support Ukrainians who are seeking refuge, both those who have family connections here in the UK and, indeed, those who don’t,” he said.
“Over the last 10 days or so we have seen huge numbers of people leaving Ukraine, fleeing from the conflict, we will support them in the places that they currently are – which is typically in countries bordering Ukraine.
“But we will, of course, also welcome Ukrainians here to the UK.”
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