Dozens Of Tory MPs Have Urged The Government To Let In More Ukrainian Refugees

Members of the party's moderate One Nation Caucus say the UK must make clear that "victims of war seeking refuge are welcome".
A young refugee girl fleeing Ukraine peers out the door window as she arrives at Zahony train station in Hungary.
A young refugee girl fleeing Ukraine peers out the door window as she arrives at Zahony train station in Hungary.
Christopher Furlong via Getty Images

Dozens of Tory MPs have called on the government to allow more Ukrainian refugees to come to the UK.

Nearly 40 members of the party’s “One Nation Caucus” have written to Boris Johnson warning him the current scheme does not go far enough.

The government has has already announced that Ukrainians in the UK will be able to bring family members from their home country.

In addition, British people and companies will be able to sponsor Ukrainian refugees.

However, the Home Office yesterday said only “around 50” visas had so far been issued - a figure later described as “absolutely innacurate” by Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Adding to the chaos, the prime minister denied suggestions by Patel that the government was considering a third scheme allowing more refugees to come on humanitarian grounds.

In their letter, the MPs - who include former cabinet members Damian Green, Jeremy Hunt, Robert Buckland and Stephen Crabb - say what the government has announced so far must only be a “first step”.

Hunt, who was beaten by Johnson in the last Tory leadership contest, said: “We need to do more to support Ukrainian refugees - my letter to the PM with a number of colleagues urging him to go further, and provide a more generous system for those fleeing the war. 1.7 million people have now fled and no one could possibly argue they don’t have good cause.”

The letter said: “We urge the UK government to provide as much support as possible to our European partners who are currently the first safe havens for Ukrainian refugees - namely Poland, Moldova, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.

“We also hope our minister will seek a flexible and pragmatic approach to those Ukrainians wishing to seek temporary refuge in the UK until it is safe to return to their lives in their home country.”

The MPs said the war in Ukraine meant it is not “business as usual”.

“We need sincere and immediate support for the Ukrainian people,” they said. “The United Kingdom cannot flag or fail, our message must be clear: Ukrainian victims of war seeking refuge are welcome.”

Speaking earlier today, Johnson said the UK could not simply open its doors to every refugee who wanted to come.

He said: “What we won’t do, let me be very clear, what we won’t do is have a system where people can come into the UK without any checks or any controls at all. I don’t think that is the right approach.

“But what we will do is have a system that is very, very generous as the situation in Ukraine deteriorates.”


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