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Guildford’s MP Says Ukrainian President’s Address Was ‘Incredibly Moving’

Published on: 9 Mar, 2022
Updated on: 13 Mar, 2022

Members of the House of Commons applaud President Kelensky’s address

By Martin Giles

Guildford’s MP, Angela Richardson (Con), said today (March 9) that she found the Ukrainian President’s address to the House of Commons yesterday “incredibly moving” and that she and her team were doing what they could for constituents who need help to bring their relatives here.

She said: “I was in the House yesterday to hear President Zelensky’s address to the Commons and many peers in the gallery. This moment was unprecedented and incredibly moving.”

Members of the House of Lords and the Ukrainian Ambassador listened from the gallery

She did not answer a question on whether she would support a “no-fly zone” but added: “People in Guildford can be assured that my team and I are doing what we can for those constituents who need help with Ukrainian refugee immigration support for family members.

Angela Richardson can be seen listening in the bottom left of the picture.

“Separately, I am making the case to ministers to push further and faster to help and support. I hear what constituents are saying and it is being relayed. Thank you to the many who have written to me.”

Asked what was the best way for Guildford residents to support Ukraine she said: “People who want to support the relief effort in Ukraine can find out more about the local efforts being made in Guildford Council area at https://www.guildford.gov.uk/article/26211/Supporting-Ukraine or Waverley Council area at https://www.waverley.gov.uk/Council-updates/Read-our-latest-news/ArtMID/1683/ArticleID/159/Waverley-Borough-Council-stands-with-Ukraine. I would like to extend a huge thanks to everyone involved in organising these.”

And as for using the local historic mansion Sutton Place to accommodate Ukrainian refugees, she responded: “While Sutton Place is not in Guildford constituency, I am always happy to work with neighbouring Members of Parliament.”

See also: Ukrainian Flag Flies Over Guildford While Resident Suggests Oligarch’s Pile is Used for Refugees

Sutton Place Image Wikimedia

A member of staff who answered the phone at Sutton Place said he could “neither confirm or deny” a local claim that Russian oligarch Alisha Usmanov had never visited the property.

The staff at the property have received no instruction from the government about what they should do. Mr Usmanov, net worth said to be $18.3 billion, was sanctioned by the government March 3. He is not allowed to travel to the UK.

It has been reported that his wife and son were intending to leave the UK following the government announcement. It is not known if they have ever visited Sutton Place either.

Asked if he had anything to add, the member of staff said: “It is a very important historic building and it is important to keep it in good condition for future generations.”

Parliamentary Ombudsman Criticises “Visa Chaos”

In a strongly worded press release entitled: “Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman statement on Ukrainian refugee visa chaos”, ombudsman Rob Behrens expressed concern over reports of “chaos and confusion” facing refugees trying to apply for a British visa to escape the devastating impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The statement continued: “UK MPs have told the media they are hearing stories from their constituents that relatives are being turned away from visa centres in Poland, centres are closed in Brussels, and the only available appointments are weeks from now.

“There have also been reports about lack of clear information over where visa processing centres are located, personal details being lost and visa applications being delayed.

Mr Behrens said: “Millions of refugees from Ukraine have faced long and harrowing journeys to get to places of safety in Poland, Belgium, France and other countries. They want to be safe and reunited with their family members in the UK as soon as possible.

“It is vital the Home Office acts to correct failings in its handling of visa applications, especially failings we have previously reported and which we are seeing repeated here.

“In this horrendous situation swift action is needed to make sure the process of getting a visa is simple, accessible and quick. Lives depend on it.”

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