James O'Brien: 'Every passing day makes the scandal bigger'

5 April 2022, 15:36 | Updated: 5 April 2022, 15:47

By James Bickerton

James O'Brien rips apart the government's slow response to the refugee crisis coming out of Ukraine, asking 'how could they fail so catastrophically?'

In March Housing Minister Michael Gove announced the 'Homes for Ukraine' scheme, under which Britons can offer to take refugees from Ukraine into their private homes.

However, last week the Government admitted only 4,700 visas have been granted under the scheme, despite 32,200 applications being received.

James contrasted the kindness of the British public, with over 200,000 people signing up to receive refugees, with the official response.

He said: "The Government got to say 'well nobody can accuse us of being ungenerous because 200,000 warm hearted Brits have applied to help a Ukrainian family come here'.

"But when you're looking two or three weeks later, and learning that 4,700 visas have been issued, I'm afraid that's impossible to square. I can't make sense of that.

"The Government boasts about how generous the British people are then does nothing to help those people offer refuge to a Ukrainian family."

More than ten million people, or nearly 25% of the pre-war population, have fled their homes in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson 'to send migrants to Rwanda to be processed in deal worth millions'

READ MORE: Russia's Dublin embassy runs dry as Irish refuse to deliver supplies

James added: "It was this time last week that I said to you 'I honestly think that by the end of this week things will be getting better', and if anything they're getting worse.

"The successful issuing of visas are now so tiny that every passing day makes the scandal bigger.

"I don't understand how that has happened."

Over the last few days evidence has emerged of widespread suspected Russian war crimes in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kiev, including the execution of civilians and torture.

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at least 300 civilians have been killed in Bucha, though this figure has not been independently verified.

The Kremlin has denied the reports, claiming the massacres were stages, though this has been dismissed by independent experts.

In addition to the 'Houses for Ukraine' scheme, the UK has granted 22,800 family visas to Ukrainians.

Lord O'Neill hails 'really cool' initiative for people to donate energy bill rebate to less fortunate

Lord O'Neill hails initiative for people to donate energy bill rebate to less fortunate

James O'Brien dissects 'baffling' US gun control opposition

James O'Brien dissects 'baffling' US gun control opposition

James O'Brien: Boris Johnson 'thinks he's the real victim' of Partygate

James O'Brien: Boris Johnson 'thinks he's the real victim' of Partygate

'I feel used!' Tearful veteran 'embarrassed' by Britain's Afghan withdrawal

'I feel used!': Tearful veteran 'embarrassed' by Britain's Afghan withdrawal

James O'Brien's 'astonishing' takedown of PM's Partygate misconduct

James O'Brien's 'astonishing' takedown of PM's Partygate misconduct

Boys at Rishi Sunak's school had 'no idea' about outside world says ex-employee

Boys at Rishi Sunak's school had 'no idea' about outside world says ex-employee

James O'Brien: Rishi Sunak's wealth 'unjustifiable' amid cost of living crisis

James O'Brien: Rishi Sunak's wealth 'unjustifiable' amid cost of living crisis

John Sweeney: I do not think that Vladimir Putin has long for this world

John Sweeney: I do not think that Vladimir Putin has long for this world

James O'Brien tears apart government's 'ideological' opposition to a windfall tax

James O'Brien tears apart government's 'ideological' opposition to a windfall tax

Most Red Wall seats worse off under Boris Johnson despite levelling up promise

Most Red Wall seats worse off under Boris Johnson despite levelling up promise

James O'Brien: Boris Johnson 'running scared of backbenchers' over obesity

James O'Brien: Boris Johnson 'running scared of backbenchers' over obesity

Exclusive
Jamie Oliver spoke to James O'Brien on LBC today

Jamie Oliver’s Eton Mess protest on Downing St as he slams Boris for child obesity u-turn

'Is it contempt for the less fortunate?' James O'Brien blasts Tory Minister over poverty

'Is it contempt for the less fortunate?' James O'Brien blasts Tory Minister over poverty

'It's 21st century bloodsport': Columnist tracks down Oxford student 'hounded out' of UK

'It's 21st century bloodsport': Columnist tracks down Oxford student 'hounded out' of UK

James O'Brien's furious reaction to blocking of Lord Lebedev security assessment

James O'Brien's furious reaction to blocking of Lord Lebedev security assessment

James O'Brien argues the government has "massively conned" the public into thinking that it doesn't matter that "the only Covid law-making address in the country has become the biggest Covid law-breaking address... arguably in the world".

James O'Brien: Press 'conned' you that Partygate doesn't matter, I think it's worked