Tory MP says UK doesn't need to do more for Ukraine - as 'we've done our bit with migration' 5 months ago

Tory MP says UK doesn't need to do more for Ukraine - as 'we've done our bit with migration'

Tory MP says the people of Lincolnshire are already under 'extreme pressure' to provide jobs and housing

Senior Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh has praised Priti Patel for refusing to offer visa-free asylum to Ukrainian refugees.

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The Gainsborough MP said the people of his Lincolnshire constituency have "done our bit in terms of migration from eastern Europe", arguing the area was "under extreme pressure in terms of housing and jobs".

Leigh was speaking after the home secretary outlined plans for the expansion of rules for Ukrainian family members to come to the UK.

The new rules mean the government will loosen the eligibility criteria from just spouses and children under 18 to grandparents, siblings, and adult children.
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Patel also confirmed the relaxation of language requirements and salary thresholds that apply to most migrants entering the UK.

However, she rejected demands from refugee charities to offer a full visa waiver to Ukrainians fleeing the war, despite mounting unrest among Conservative MPs over the government's refugee policy.

Leigh described her response as "proportionate", saying: “Everybody wants to be humanitarian and she’s under pressure to have a visa-free scheme like the rest of Europe, but may I actually congratulate her on her proportionate response."

“I think we have to remember that, unlike the rest of Europe, we have uniquely liberal labour laws and we speak English, so we are the country of choice for mass immigration," he continued.

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“And therefore I do urge her to, as well as listen to all the humanitarian voices, to listen to the voices of people in Lincolnshire, who feel we’ve done our bit in terms of migration from eastern Europe. We’re under extreme pressure in terms of housing and jobs."

Leigh added: “I know this is difficult to say, but we have to be honest about this. And therefore may I be a correcting voice on this and congratulate her on her humanitarian but proportionate response and not throwing away the immigration rulebook.”

Last month Leigh questioned Boris Johnson over immigration and visa controls during a debate in the House of Commons.

He said that while a free trade deal with India would be valuable in itself, the UK “should not be held to ransom” over visas and immigration.

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