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Bishop’s ‘rage’ at government policy on refugees fleeing Ukraine

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The Bishop of Dover has criticized the Government’s policy towards refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

In remarks to the Canterbury Diocesan Synod, Rose Hudson-Wilkin spoke of her anger and frustration at the Russian invasion and its impact on the people of Ukraine.

Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin has spoken of her ‘rage’ at the Russian invasion of Ukraine (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Asking people to provide help and shelter to the refugees, he said: “We see on our screens the plight of the people of Ukraine. And I want to tell you this, that deep inside of me there has been an anger.

“And what interests me is that there is a real conversation about how we receive these two million people, and I am sure there will be more, who are seeking refuge.

“People who are normal people, like you and me, who a few weeks ago were going about their normal business and are now running for their lives. How do we respond to them? How do we open the doors and let them in?

Criticizing the UK government’s response, she said: “I’m a huge tennis fan and there are John McEnroe’s favorite words when he was a player: ‘You can’t be serious!’ I’ve heard myself say that when I’ve heard the government, my government, our government talk about visas and apply for visas.

“People are running for their lives and we’re asking them to find a place and apply? My God, you can’t be serious. Should we continue to look through our domestic lens at what our people will say if too many people come to our country?

“I say that because I passionately believe this is God’s world and we are here as God’s children to reach out and build relationships, to name evil when we see it.”

An Interior Ministry spokeswoman said: “We stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine and the changes we have made to the visa process are making it faster and easier for Ukrainians to come here, as well as ensuring that those who are already here can to stay.

“We are reuniting thousands of families and more applications are being processed every hour.

“The public rightly expects us to keep them safe from security risks and our approach balances welcoming people back quickly and ensuring those who could pose a threat to our security don’t get here.

“This week the government sponsorship route will open to allow Ukrainians without family ties to the UK to come here and we will continue to work closely with our Ukrainian partners to implement the measures we have put in place.”

Ukrainian relatives, including parents, grandparents, children over the age of 18, siblings, as well as immediate family members, of British citizens and people established in the UK can apply for the plan free of charge for a three-year license.

But applicants are told they should not attempt to reach the UK until they have received a letter of permission to travel.

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