Priti Patel denies visa checks 'slowing' arrival of Ukrainian refugees.mp4
BBC

Priti Patel was challenged about the long delays to the government's Ukrainian refugee scheme by a BBC journalist who slammed the situation with just one line.

Ever since Russian forces invaded Ukraine back in February, the UK government has been criticised for its slow response in aiding Ukrainian refugees.

The family visa programme and the sponsorship system were set up due to the backlash and will enable Ukrainians who have fled their homes to seek refuge in the UK.

But so far out of the 40,900 visas that have been issued to Ukrainians, only 12,000 of those Ukrainians have actually arrived in the UK at the moment.

In an interview with the BBC’s home editor Mark Easton, the home secretary said that while the scheme has "taken time" she insisted that "any new scheme takes time."

However, Easton pushed Patel further on the point and asked if she would be willing to apologise for the delays.

"There is huge frustration out there. Your refugees minister has apologised for unacceptable delays. Will you?”

To which Patel replied: “I apologise with frustration myself," but then added: "We’ve got hundreds of Home Office staff doing visa applications, processing on the ground, providing support."

Though Easton wasn't going to let this go and accused Patel of boasting about a surge of staff supporting the Ukrainian refugees being processed to be allowed in the UK and informed her he had actually visited Calais himself and it wasn't exactly how the home secretary described it...

"People say it’s not good enough – you boasted about a surge of staff to Calais to support the Ukrainian refugees who had arrived there.

"I went there, it was two guys, a table and some crisps," Easton said, painting quite the picture.


"Well, Mark, first of all, there is no boasting that was taking place, let me just be clear about that," Patel answered.

"You talked about a surge, home secretary!” the journalist passionately pointed out.

"That is our home office staff there and by the way that is done in conjunction with the French government," Patel said.

The clip of the pair's war of words has since been shared on Twitter where it's been viewed over 418,000 times.

As a result, the video has garnered a lot of reaction from people who are impressed with Easton holding Patel to account but aren't so impressed with Patel's answers.

Alastair Campbell made his feelings clear about the government after viewing the exchange and wrote: "These people are revolting."










The UK is also lagging behind its European counterparts in welcoming Ukrainian refugees, with 17,000 Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland, and a staggering 300,000 of them in Germany.

When asked in the interview why Britain is "playing catch-up," Patel replied: "Mark, if I may politely just say that this isn’t about catch-up. It’s not about comparing us to other countries."

While the home secretary noted how the UK's scheme is "unprecedented" because it is "uncapped," Easton was quick to counter this and said: "But they’re not coming home secretary," and added how the red tape of the home office is being blamed for delays.

“It’s always easy to blame someone else,” Patel said and explained the red tape is due to the UK no longer part being part of the freedom of movement system as it has left the EU.

“You will see changes, you will absolutely see changes in numbers,” Patel insisted later on in the interview.

Let's hope by now there are more than two guys and a packet of crisps helping Ukrainian refugees get processed in Calais.

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