Thank you for contacting me about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In the last few days, I have received over 250 emails from constituents about support for Ukraine.
I fully support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and I condemn President Putin’s unprovoked and unjustifiable attack. These actions are a flagrant breach of international law and will have tragic and horrendous consequences. I know people in this country will be feeling worried and uncertain, and I know that Ukrainians and Russians here in the UK will be worrying for friends and family back home.
Putin’s invasion is a clear attack I believe it is right that Britain has stepped up defensive military support to Ukraine in the face of aggression over recent months and that this is continuing. This is about giving the Ukrainians practical assistance to be able to defend themselves, alongside our economic and diplomatic support.
For Britain’s part, Russia’s attack on Ukraine must be met with the hardest possible sanctions against the Putin regime: it must be isolated, its finances frozen, and its ability to function crippled. That means excluding Russia from financial mechanisms and banning trade in Russian sovereign debt. I therefore welcome the set of sanctions outlined by the Government and I pledge my support for even further measures. The Government should go further to ensure sanctions can also be placed against Russia’s extractive industries, energy industries and technological industries. It is vital that sanctions are broad enough to inflict damage on every aspect of Russia’s economy.
I also welcome Government proposals to tackle corporate transparency and illicit finance linked to Russia. It is vital that we urgently take the necessary steps to drag illicit finance out of the shadows and make it clear that the UK will no longer be a home to dirty money. However, I am clear that the measures being introduced have been needed for some time. It is disappointing that the Government’s failure to take action until now has stopped us from acting with the speed necessary to support Ukraine and protect our national security.
With regards to refugees fleeing Ukraine, on 1st March, the Home Secretary made a statement on the UK Government’s humanitarian response to the conflict in Ukraine. The government as announced a new humanitarian sponsorship pathway will be opened which will allow Ukrainians who may not have family ties with the UK, but who are able to match with individuals, charities, businesses and community groups, to come to the UK. The community sponsorship scheme is very welcome, but our experience with similar schemes is that they are very slow. The Government should outline how it will speed up that system and ensure that it gets proper support. I hope the Government will go further and look at a wider resettlement scheme with Government support. We have a huge responsibility to work alongside other European countries to provide sanctuary to those who are fleeing war in Europe.
I support measures that have been taken to strengthen the security of NATO allies in response to growing threats and we must now go further to reinforce these defences. However, we must also strengthen our defences at home. For years, the Government has been warned about the role of dirty money in the UK from corrupt elites who sustain and profit from the Putin regime. Britain has become a destination of choice for kleptocrats seeking to hide their ill-gotten wealth under our noses.
Ukrainians want a democratic future and they should be able to determine their own political destiny. President Putin’s actions are in direct contradiction with the anti-imperialist principle that sovereign nations are free to choose their own allies and their own way of life.
Many in the community have asked how they can offer support to Ukrainian refugees. I am proud and heartened to see that the Polish Centre in Forrest Hill is coordinating a relief donation effort for Ukrainian refugees. More information on their efforts can be found here..
I assure you I am monitoring developments closely and the latest advice for those in Ukraine or with family and loved ones there can be found here..
Thank you once again for contacting me on this.