Liz Truss Taken Apart By Labour MP Over Refugee Numbers: 'Are You Not Ashamed?'

"Passing the buck really doesn't work," Chris Bryant said to the foreign secretary in an excruciating exchange.
Liz Truss, foreign secretary, and Labour MP Chris Bryant
Liz Truss, foreign secretary, and Labour MP Chris Bryant

Liz Truss was scrutinised by Labour MP Chris Bryant over the government’s refugee programme for fleeing Ukrainians on Monday.

As chair of the foreign affairs select committee, Bryant was questioning the foreign secretary as to why so few Ukrainians have been welcomed to the UK despite the humanitarian crisis unfolding after Russia’s invasion.

Bryant said to Truss: “Are you not ashamed by that?”

She replied: “The home secretary has announced two routes, one is the family route, the other is the sponsorship route.

“I know the Home Office is working very hard to issue visas.

The Labour MP said: “So you’re not ashamed that other countries are taking in tens and tens of thousands, and we, who have known longer than any other countries that this was going to happen and should have been preparing for it – and your department should have been preparing for it – we’ve only managed to give out 50 visas so far.”

Since then, the Home Office has revealed approximately 300 visas have been granted to Ukrainian refugees – still a long way from the hundreds of thousands accepted by countries nearer to Ukraine.

Truss replied: ″I can assure you Chris that we have been preparing for it, we’ve been preparing for it since well before the end of last year.

“That’s where we sent our forward location deployment teams to locations in Poland, Slovakia, to provide direct support to people leaving Ukraine.”

When he pointed out that the numbers are still exceptionally low, she deflected: ″Well, it’s really a matter for the home secretary.”

Bryant replied: “People have to come to your post, to be able to get their biometric details [digital photograph and fingerprint] taken.”

“I believe that is a Home Office responsibility,” Truss said again.

Another foreign office official said that the system they have set up in Poland will allow around 6,000 people a week though.

Truss continued to point out that this is still a home office responsibility, only for Bryant to reply: “Passing the buck really doesn’t work as a government minister. It really doesn’t. You’re all part of the same government.”

Chris Bryant: How many additional visas have been given to the ukrainians since the Invasion began?

Liz Truss: No idea

CB: It's 50... are you not ashamed... so you're not ashamed, other countries are taking in 10s of thousands.. passing the buck really doesn't work...

— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) March 7, 2022

Bryant has developed a reputation for his scathing attacks on the government, especially in recent months. His line of questioning about sanctions for Roman Abramovitch, the Russian oligarch who is known for owning Chelsea football club, pushed Boris Johnson to leave the Commons rather than answer.

Today @trussliz
👀Didn’t understand how the international criminal court works
👀Had no idea how many additional visas have been granted to Ukrainians by the uk since the invasion or why so few
👀couldn’t explain why uk has sanctioned so few Putin oligarchs

— Chris Bryant (@RhonddaBryant) March 7, 2022

Bryant is not alone in his assessment of No.10′s response to the Ukrainian war.

Good Morning Britain presenter Adil Ray was just one of many who pointed out that the government’s strategy was “delay, delay, delay”.

Meanwhile, there’s been further confusion about where the visa centre actually is for Ukrainians wanting to go to the UK from France, as travelling to Britain seems to be becoming a mammoth task for the refugees.

This govts strategy for allowing refugees into the UK isn’t “inept” “badly managed” or “incompetent”. It’s now apparent, this is exactly how they planned it. To them it’s going perfectly. Delay, delay, delay and throw obstacles in the way. Let Europe have them. It is disgusting.

— Adil Ray OBE (@adilray) March 8, 2022

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