James O'Brien tears apart Priti Patel's Ukrainian refugee policy

LBC presenter James O’Brien has brutally criticised Priti Patel and the UK government’s handling of the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine less than two weeks ago, over 1.5 million people have fled the country. Those who remain seek safety in bomb shelters and risk becoming displaced as Russia continues its assault.

Those fleeing have sought safety in other European nations, but the UK is severely lagging behind as it was revealed that just 50 refugees from Ukraine have been granted a visa.

Speaking on air today (7 March) O'Brien took aim at the UK government and their meagre response to the refugee crisis.

O’Brien said: “When Priti Patel tries to give you the impression that we’re moving heaven and Earth to help Ukrainian refugees when we’re doing less than any other country in Europe, is she too stupid to realise that [is a lie], or is she banking on you being too stupid to realise that?”

The presenter compared what the UK is doing to help Ukraine’s refugees with our neighbours in Ireland and other nations across Europe.

He said: “So, 5 million people in Ireland – they’ve already taken 1,250 refugees. They've waived all visa requirements.

“If you’re Ukrainian and you are stateless at the moment – homeless at the moment – you can settle in any other country in Europe, except this one.”

Under new emergency plans, Ukrainian refugees have the right to live and work in the European Union for three years as they flee their war-torn home.

For those aiming for the UK, they are being turned away at Calais for not having adequate paperwork.

O'Brien made refence to a video posted by the home secretary Priti Patel in which she claimed to be helping Ukrainians “with links to the UK”, speaking over music in the background.

O’Brien said of the clip: “I don’t know who came up with the idea of playing music in the background but I kind of knew someone would have done.

“There's always music with propaganda. They go together like a horse and carriage.”

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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