Help lacking for refugees

Has Britain lost its way? Like so many people, I’ve been stunned by the pictures of women and children attempting to flee the brutality of Putin’s Ukrainian invasion while we seem unable or unwilling to help.

I’ve had numerous constituents contact me and make offers but of course the stark question must be why our government seems so ill prepared. The public seem ready, but the government appears lacking.

After being forced to listen to embarrassing claims from ministers that we’ve taken more refugees than anyone else which is no more than a fiction, we finally got some scant details at the weekend of plans to support a sponsorship scheme. Ministers say they hope hotels, landlords, B&Bs and Airbnb properties will form the bulk of offers although mostly I’ve been contacted by ordinary people with a spare room.

We certainly live in a more complex age and any offers of accommodation will require vetting and criminal record checks although interestingly the Secretary of State doesn’t currently insist on that for those who end up in exempt accommodation, but with all our technology it shouldn’t be too hard.

More than 80 years after we managed to send our own children on buses and trains with cardboard name tags to avoid the devastation of the Blitz, I think it shouldn’t be too hard to devise a simple scheme to help women and children fleeing the Russian invasion.

It’s highly unlikely that Putin has embedded enemy agents in the women and children we are seeing on our TV screens. It’s much more likely that his supporters are to be found among those Johnson has given peerages to and those populating the private clubs of Mayfair and even now making plans to protect their wealth and evade the impact of sanctions.

I welcome the very limited news of the last few days that the government does intend to introduce a sponsorship scheme to help those most in need but I wish it could proceed at a faster pace.

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