Good Morning Britain reflects on Ukrainian women on International Women’s Day
Priti Patel has been condemned by MPs from all parties for telling the Commons on Monday that a visa center had been set up in Calais to help Ukrainian refugees trying to enter the UK – a claim now known for be false.
Roger Gale, a senior MP from the Home Secretary’s own party, went so far as to suggest she should resign over it. “The Minister of the Interior said yesterday that a visa center had already been set up in Calais,” he said. “That was wrong and under any normal administration it would be a matter of resignation.”
Meanwhile, shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper added that Ms Patel should have come to the Commons herself on Tuesday – instead of sending her colleague Kevin Foster – to be examined.
It comes after No 10 admitted Ukrainians trapped in Calais would have to travel 70 miles to Lille to find out if they are even eligible for a UK visa, despite Ms Patel’s claims 24 hours earlier.
Elsewhere, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the Commons later today via video link.
Refugees must be ‘welcomed and supported however they arrive’, says British Red Cross
British Red Cross chief executive Mike Adamson had said refugees seeing them coming to the UK should be supported “no matter how they arrive”.
He explained: “People fleeing Ukraine are currently stuck in Calais, unable to reach their loved ones. In the chaos of conflict, people cannot always access supposedly safe and legal avenues.
“In recent days, we have seen two million women, men and children fleeing Ukraine – walking for miles across borders, boarding buses and trains – taking any route to put in safety. With so few options, many are forced to flee by any means necessary to seek safety and reunite with their loved ones.
He went on to add, “Refugees should not be judged on how they travel – they should be welcomed and supported, however they arrive.”
Eleanor SlyMarch 8, 2022 3:24 p.m.
Watch: Ukrainian refugees will be able to apply for UK visas in Lille, says Truss
Liz Truss earlier told MPs that a ‘pop-up’ site would be set up in Lille, northern France, to process visas for Ukrainian refuges.
Ms Truss (apparently) revealed the new site after the Government’s resettlement policy to flee war-torn Ukraine was described as ‘cruel and chaotic’.
Liz Truss answers questions at Commons earlier
Liam JamesMarch 8, 2022 3:05 p.m.
Boris Johnson to announce abandonment of Russian oil and gas – report
Boris Johnson will make an announcement around 4pm today on reducing reliance on Russian oil and gas imports, according to Politico reporter Alex Wickham.
The prime minister said yesterday that the world could not just stop using Russia’s oil and gas, but could take a ‘step by step’ approach away from dependency.
Downing Street has denied suggestions that the government could relax its targets for reaching net zero or lift the moratorium on fracking in response to the crisis.
US President Joe Biden is expected to announce a Russian oil ban in remarks at 3:45 p.m. (10:45 a.m. ET), sources familiar with the matter said.
Liam JamesMarch 8, 2022 2:43 p.m.
John Bercow suspended by Labor after report slams him as ‘serial bully’
Former Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow has been suspended from the Labor Party after an independent inquiry branded him a ‘serial bully’.
It is understood that the party will now carry out its own investigation.
Mr Bercow received a lifetime ban from holding a parliamentary pass due to the findings of the bullying inquiry. He also turned out to be a “serial liar”.
Updates from Ashley Cowburn here:
Liam JamesMarch 8, 2022 2:26 p.m.
Liz Truss claims Labor tried to slow sanctioning of oligarchs ‘doesn’t stand up to scrutiny’
Anneliese Dodds has hit back at accusations leveled against her by Liz Truss that she tried to slow down the UK’s ability to sanction individual Russians.
The Labor MP suggested the Foreign Secretary had made claims against her.
She said: ‘The accusations the Foreign Secretary has leveled against me do not stand up to scrutiny – I am using parliamentary language here.’
She continued: “At no time have I sought to slow down the government’s ability to sanction individuals who pose a threat to the UK.”
“Rather the opposite.”
She said she lobbied for sanctions against the Russian oligarchs, “which were actually blocked by the Conservative government which interrupted the debate in committee after half an hour to prevent the issue from being put to a vote”.
Liam JamesMarch 8, 2022 2:19 p.m.
Government ‘misinterprets’ UK over approach to refugees, says Lib Dem
Tim Farron, the former Lib Dem leader, appears to accuse the Home Office of misinterpreting the country’s approach to welcoming refugees.
He says, like other MPs, that he has been inundated with people offering to sponsor refugees. But they can’t, because the regime has not been put in place.
Foster repeats his point about how the government is working “at pace” to rectify this.
After a few more questions on the subject, the session of urgent questions is over. Now on a point of order regarding Foreign Affairs Minister Liz Truss.
sam hancockMarch 8, 2022 1:53 p.m.
Lucas condemns Patel for not coming to the Commons
Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, condemned the Home Secretary for sending a colleague – Home Secretary Kevin Foster – to the Commons after “yesterday’s day of chaos, confusion and misinformation from its share on a cruel and unjust policy”.
sam hancockMarch 8, 2022 1:46 p.m.
Ukraine: Family visa regime extended to cousins and in-laws
Among the good news, the UK has announced that it is extending its family visa program for Ukrainian refugees to include aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and in-laws.
The announcement was made in the House of Commons by Home Secretary Kevin Foster, who claimed the government was making ‘significant progress’ in its response to the refugee crisis and had now processed more than 500 claimants Ukrainian asylum seekers in the UK.
Our political editor Andre Bécasse reports:
sam hancockMarch 8, 2022 1:44 p.m.
Tory MP says ‘days not weeks’ are needed for sponsorship scheme
Moving on to Mark Harper, the former Conservative cabinet minister, in the Commons, who says he appreciates the difficulties Foster and the Home Office are facing.
But he adds that the government needs to act faster. He says he was concerned about Foster’s suggestion that setting up the Ukrainian sponsorship program could take weeks or months. He says it should happen faster.
Foster says he would like to hear an announcement by Thursday at the latest. “It should be a matter of days, not weeks,” he insists.
sam hancockMarch 8, 2022 1:43 p.m.
Watch: Senior Tory calls on Patel to quit
Sir Roger Gale tweeted a clip of the moment he suggested Priti Patel quit over misguided claims she made about a visa center in Calais.
sam hancockMarch 8, 2022 1:41 p.m.