Black Country MP and former defence minister John Spellar today warned the Prime Minister over failure to get people stranded abroad back home to the UK – and that it could be ‘another Windrush waiting to happen’.
After first raising the issue with the Prime Minister in March, Spellar acknowledged that the Foreign Office had ‘grudgingly – and much slower than other countries’ organised flights back to the UK; he warned that the FCO seemed ‘to be washing its hands of those with Indefinite Leave to Remain [in the UK], even though they may have lived and worked here for years – and are husbands, wives, parents and grandparents of British citizens.’
After Prime Minister’s Questions, Spellar commented: ‘In his response the Prime Minister did not address the specific issue of those with Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK getting back home – I will be writing to him to set out the problem in detail and demanding action.’
Video of the Exchange: https://twitter.com/spellar/status/1260546038173175808
John Spellar: Prime Minister, at the end of March I asked you to help the thousands of our people stranded abroad. Notably in South Asia and especially in the Punjab. Grudgingly – and much slower than other countries – the Foreign Office organised flights back. But there are many still stranded. Furthermore, the FCO now seems to be washing its hands of those with Indefinite Leave to Remain [in the UK] even though they may have lived and worked here for years – and are husbands, wives, parents and grandparents of British citizens. Indeed, some have described this as another Windrush waiting to happen. So, Prime Minister, will you sort this out?
Prime Minister: I thank the Rt. Hon. Gentleman – he actually nabbed me behind the Speaker’s chair after he last put it to me – I can tell him that we estimate that 1.3 million British nationals have now been returned – I know he would like the RAF to be more involved, but I can also tell him that we’ve put in £75 million to a charter arrangement and a whole range of airlines have signed up to it – and we’re doing everything we can to bring people back as fast as we can.