PMQs: MPs question whereabouts of Priti Patel
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Ian Blackford tore into the Government after less than 1,000 visa applications from Ukrainian refugees were processed despite hundreds of thousands being allowed into Poland and other European nations. Mr Blackford compared the UK’s 760 figures to Ireland’s over 2000 approved visas as he accused the Government of repeating history with the Windrush scandal and other immigrant policies. But as the SNP leader slammed the Government, backbenchers could be loudly protesting behind him demanding to know where the Home Secretary was so she could be held accountable.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Blackford was furious at the UK Government’s figures and said Scotland was more than willing to welcome more refugees.
He told the chamber: “I don’t think the Prime Minister understands the scale of the challenge or the urgency.
“These are people fleeing war crimes, torn apart from their families as their homes are shelled.
“And the Home Secretary is blocking them with endless paperwork.
“This isn’t just incompetence, this is ideology in the face of the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War…”
Backbenchers could be heard heckling and asking where Ms Patel was with one MP ridiculing her for hiding.
Mr Blackford continued and pointed to the Tories opposite: “The UK government wouldn’t set aside the hostile environment… by the way, we’re seeing the hostile environment this afternoon.
“We’ve seen this too many times from a Tory Home Office, the Windrush scandal, the go home vans, the inhuman nationality and borders bill.
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“The UK Home Office is raising barriers and bureaucracy when we should be offering care and compassion.”
The SNP politician urged Mr Johnson to not repeat history and to repeal the visa restrictions as many other European countries have.
The Prime Minister hit back against the accusations, arguing the UK had a strong history of welcoming refugees and immigrants in Hong Kong and Afghanistan.
He also pointed out several of his cabinet members were from refugee families.
The UK Government had only processed 50 visa applications by the beginning of the week despite tens of thousands of applications being sent.
Government ministers have tried to defend the results by claiming the backlog will quickly be resolved as processes are followed.
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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps claimed the UK Government wanted to make sure that people traffickers could not exploit the situation and so proper security measures needed to be followed.
He also claimed President Zelensky had told him and the Government he did not want Ukrainians settling far away as he hoped they would eventually return.
Ms Patel came under fire after she said a pop-up visa centre would be established in Calais but it was soon revealed it would actually be 70 miles away in Lille.
The Home Secretary was attacked for the move as opposition benches questioned why she did not create one at Calais.
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