Grahame Morris MP has made representations to the Government about their response to repatriate British citizens and residents. In a letter addressed to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, he criticises the ‘disjointed, uncoordinated and inadequate effort’ on the part of the Foreign Office, as thousands of Britons remain stranded abroad amid the global coronavirus outbreak.
The letter states that, despite pledging £75m in support of the repatriation effort on 30th March, the Government must go further in its efforts to bring people home. It urges the Government to make use of Royal Air Force capabilities and resources, and to directly charter more flights at subsidised rates. Lack of Government action has so far meant that citizens have been forced to rely on commercial flights supplied by private companies in order to return home. These commercial flights are often unreliable, in very high demand, and prohibitively expensive.
The letter also condemns an apparent lack of coordination across the Foreign Office’s network of Embassies and High Commissions, stating that there has been a ‘considerable disparity in their approach’.
The letter solidifies its lack of confidence in the Government as it urges Britons stuck abroad to attempt to make use of resources that are currently available, rather than wait for other options to materialise, as ‘it is regrettably clear that they will not be able to rely on the Foreign Office and their own Government to do what is best’.
Finally, it states that the Government must account for their insufficient action during the coronavirus crisis, and ensure that those who have been forced to take expensive commercial flights as a result of this inaction, are suitably recompensed.
Grahame Morris MP said, “The Government urgently needs to take further steps to ensure the safe and speedy repatriation of those stranded abroad at this uncertain time. I recognise that this situation is extremely worrying for those who have yet to return home, and the Government must provide them with the support that they need and deserve. I urge the Foreign Office to implement the suggestions made in this letter with immediate effect.”