A group of 48 Ukrainian orphans will be kept in the UK after Priti Patel succumbed to pressure to remove the red tape blocking their arrival.
After being taken to Poland, the fate of the children sparked a political upheaval when the SNP accused it of preventing the Interior Ministry from placing unnecessary sanctions.
“A plane is ready and waiting in Poland to bring these orphans to the UK on Friday,” Westminster chairman Ian Blackford told the Commons, demanding government legislation.
On Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Robb denied that bureaucracy was the cause, saying it was appropriate to first consider “family reunification options in the region.”
But Ms. Patel now acts and declares: “We are working urgently with Poland to ensure the rapid arrival of children in the UK. ⁇
Dinifro Kids, a charity set up by fans of the Hibernian football club, expelled children from orphanages in Ukraine – and accused the Interior Ministry of ‘dragging its heels’.
The charity brought groups of orphans to the club grounds in Edinburgh, and charity workers have also traveled to Ukraine to watch the matches.
Mr Blackford said he was “delighted” at the turning point, but that it was “harder than it needed to be”.
“The UK government needs to learn lessons and remove unnecessary barriers and delays in favor of displaced children and families,” he said.
“Not all children can have security guards and adults to support them, and the Home Office must ensure that there are safe, smooth and quick ways for them to access and secure visas.”
Ms. Patel added: “I worked directly with the Ukrainian government and asked for their permission to bring these children to the UK.
I am very grateful to the Ukrainian authorities for confirming to me now that the children can come here.
“Food trailblazer. Passionate troublemaker. Coffee fanatic. General analyst. Certified creator. Lifelong music expert. Alcohol specialist.”