'We won't abandon all checks!' Boris slaps down Blackford's demands UK opens borders

Boris Johnson has refused demands from the SNP in Parliament to wave all immigration checks for people fleeing the war in Ukraine. SNP Westminister leader Ian Blackford called on the UK to copy EU moves to wave all border checks for Ukrainians. Mr Johnson told MPs that the UK Government had adopted a humanitarian approach but what not be abandoning all checks.

Mr Blackford asked the Prime Minister: “This is a moment for Europe to stand united in the face of Putin’s war.

“The EU have acted and waived all visa requirements for Ukrainian refugees, the UK Government stands alone in our continent in so far refusing to do the same.

“Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, has made clear our country stands ready to open our borders and our hearts to the people of Ukraine, but the UK Government must bring down the barriers.

“Will the Prime Minister join with our European partners and waive all visa requirements for the people of Ukraine who are fleeing war?”

Mr Johnson replied: “The EU already, because of its Schengen border-free zone, has its own arrangements with Ukraine.

“They differed for a long time from those of the UK, but what we do have is a plan to be as generous as we possibly can to the people of Ukraine and the numbers that will come just under our family reunion scheme could be in the hundreds of thousands, to say nothing of the special new path that we’re opening up for those coming, the humanitarian path that is also uncapped.”

“What we won’t do is simply abandon all checks.

“We don’t think that, that is sensible, particularly in view of the security concerns, the reasonable security concerns about people coming from that theatre of war.”

“Surely with Putin’s crime of aggression in plain and horrific sight in Ukraine, now is the time to drop that opposition?

“Will the Prime Minister meet with me to discuss this and will he amend the UK War Crimes Act and will he support the ICC (International Criminal Court) prosecution for Putin for his crimes of aggression against the people of Ukraine?”

Mr Johnson replied: “I’m in principle of course happy to meet (him)… what we have seen already from Vladimir Putin’s regime in the use of the munitions that they have already been dropping on innocent civilians, in my view, already fully qualifies as a war crime and I know that the ICC prosecutor is already investigating, and I am sure the whole House will support that.”

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