Mary today pressed the Prime Minister to ensure that Ukrainians seeking refuge in the UK from Putin’s invasion are able to gain sanctuary as a matter of urgency.
Highlighting the “incredible response” of the people of Durham, Mary pointed to the slow response of the Government in setting up a new sponsorship route for Ukrainians without family in the UK to seek sanctuary in the country. Such slow establishment of this route has left many people wanting to help not being able to. The “overwhelming” response from Durham’s residents was heard from the galleries by Vadym Prystaiko, the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK, who was a guest at Prime Minister’s Questions today.
The lack of announcement on this new sponsorship scheme has been criticised by the Refugee Council who said “this is an urgent situation that requires an urgent response.”
Mary asked the Prime Minister
“Does the Prime Minister agree with me that we need a faster and more effective way of offering sanctuary to the people of Ukraine than the Government’s current proposals?”
This question comes after Mary wrote to the Home Secretary earlier this week calling for the expansion of the family migration visa – an expansion that was later confirmed by the Home Secretary yesterday (1st March).
The Prime Minister, responding to Mary’s question, said that the Government were in discussions with Poland about helping vulnerable Ukrainians into the UK. However, he did not commit to renewing the Government’s proposals to offer a faster route to sanctuary for Ukrainians, instead stating he was “proud” of the record of the Government.
Responding to the Prime Minister, Mary commented:
“As I told the Prime Minister, I have been overwhelmed by the good will of the people of Durham. We have a proud history in this country of helping refugees in time of
need that we need to remember. The people of Durham are ready to help, but they need the Government to put in place schemes to help Ukrainians seeking sanctuary in the UK quickly. The Prime Minister decided to pat himself on the back, rather than offer assurances to residents of Durham, who have kindly offered their homes to Ukrainians, that their generosity will be received and utilised soon.”