John Knight's April 2022 Talking Politics column for Macclesfield Express

4 April 2022

We’ve all seen the terrible scenes from Ukraine, as Putin’s forces continue to commit appalling war crimes against civilians. Over ten million people have now been displaced from their homes by the violence, mainly women, children and elderly people. Well over four million of these have left Ukraine and many more are fleeing by the day.

There’s a simple step that would make a huge difference to these people, and enable the UK to take a proper share of the international responsibility for helping them: Waive the usual visa requirements for refugees fleeing this conflict.

The invasion of Ukraine has brought home just how cruel the government’s approach to asylum, refugees and citizenship is.

Green Party Peers Natalie Bennett and Jenny Jones have been working hard to challenge the xenophobia that underlies the government’s Nationality and Borders Bill, and to make this country a more welcoming place for all refugees, whether they’re from Ukraine, Afghanistan or any other vulnerable place right now. Last month in the House of Lords, Natalie and Jenny got nineteen amendments passed to the Bill aimed at removing some of its worst aspects.

But the House of Commons has removed all the amendments, so it is now going back to the House of Lords. There is still time to stop this bill. We need everyone’s help to call on the government to waive the current visa requirements for people fleeing the war in Ukraine - including Black, Asian and Arab refugees, many of whom cannot easily return to their home countries.

What can we do? Contact our MPs - David Rutley in Macclesfield or Esther McVey in Tatton - calling on them to urge the government to revise the Nationality and Borders Bill.

Post - #WaiveTheVisas - on our social media, highlighting the need to waive visa requirements.

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