Boris Johnson says EU-style open door policy for Ukrainian refugees not right for UK –

Good morning. Although some aspects of the government’s response to the war in Ukraine have been generally praised, there has been strong criticism, including from Tories, of the attitude taken towards refugees from the conflict seeking refuge in the UK. And last night it emerged that among those disappointed by the policy adopted by Priti Patel, the home secretary, is … Patel herself. She told Harry Cole from the Sun:

In response to the desperation I saw with my own eyes at the Polish border two days ago, I’m urgently escalating our response to the growing humanitarian crisis.

I am now investigating the legal options to create a humanitarian route.

This means anyone without ties to the UK fleeing the conflict in Ukraine will have a right to come to this nation.

Cole says in his report that Patel is referring to the possibility of setting up a new route for Ukrainians wanting to come to the UK – separate from the Ukraine family scheme, which was beefed up last week, and the local sponsorship scheme for Ukraine, the details of which are yet to be announced.

Although Patel shared her thinking with the Sun, she does not appear to have told other people in government, and this has created some confusion as to what actually is being planned. These are from the BBC’s chief political correspondent, Adam Fleming, this morning.

Adam Fleming

Sounds like @pritipatel comments to @TheSun are about the already announced route where Ukrainians can be sponsored to come to the U.K. by individuals, communities and organisations and not an open door for all.

March 7, 2022

Adam Fleming

UPDATE The Home Office IS considering a new, third route for Ukrainian refugees after all. But sounds like they haven’t told the Foreign Office are other senior figures in government.

March 7, 2022

And this is from the BBC’s home affairs editor, Mark Easton.

Mark Easton

What did Priti Patel mean when she told @TheSun “I’m urgently escalating our response … to create a humanitarian route” for Ukrainian refugees”? @downingstreet insists nothing has changed but @ukhomeoffice says a new route IS being worked on. #confusion

March 7, 2022

James Cleverly, the Foreign Office minister, has been giving interviews this morning, and he has been unable to shed much light on what is going on. He told the Today programme this morning that the two existing routes “remained the same”.

But he also stressed that there were “neither targets nor limits” to the number of Ukrainians who might be admitted. Last week the government said its two routes then in place might lead to an extra 200,000 being allowed into the country.

We will be hearing from Boris Johnson later, so perhaps No 10 might have clarified a line by then.

Here is the agenda for the day.

Morning: Boris Johnson visits an RAF base with his Canadian and Dutch counterparts, Justin Trudeau and Mark Rutte.

11.30am: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.

1.05pm: The former head of corporate affairs at Swift, Natasha de Terán, and other financial experts give evidence to the Commons Treasury committee on sanctions against Russia.

2pm: Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, gives evidence to the Commons foreign affairs committee.

After 3.30pm: MPs begin the debate on the economic crime bill. The second reading debate can last up to four hours, and after that MPs will debate amendment and conclude the bill’s remaining stages.

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