Ukraine

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:13 pm on 28th March 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alyn Smith Alyn Smith Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) 5:13 pm, 28th March 2022

I, too, am grateful for advance sight of the statement, and I commend the Foreign Secretary on the very open approach that she has taken to briefing parties across the House on this crucial issue.

The SNP stands part of the international coalition to defend Ukraine and international law, so I welcome the co-ordination across the EU, G7 and NATO. We support the provision of arms, and the further provision of arms, to Ukraine, and we particularly support the establishment of the negotiations unit to help the Ukrainians to negotiate properly. I share the Foreign Secretary’s scepticism about President Putin’s good faith, but let us remember that every single cold war dispute ended with a negotiated outcome of some sort, so we need to keep up that support. I also strongly welcome the support for accountability for war crimes, because we need to think towards the peace at the end of the war.

I am glad to see that sanctions are ramping up. Can the Foreign Secretary confirm to the House that the intention is that, if a person or bank is sanctioned in one G7 or EU territory, that will be mirrored across the other territories? When will that be achieved? I appreciate that we all come from different legal backgrounds, but I think it is important that we set a timescale for matching each other’s sanctions.

On refugees, there is considerable difference between the SNP and the Government. We would far rather have seen the UK mirror the EU’s approach by waiving visas for three years. We think that that would have been generous and proportionate, but it is not what happened. I welcome the fact that the Homes for Ukraine scheme has had 150,000 applications, but I think the far more meaningful statistic is how many of them have been fulfilled. Can she tell us that? If she cannot tell us that, we need to do a bit less self-congratulating about the Homes for Ukraine scheme—I say that constructively. Does she share my concern that the Home Office needs a lot more resource to process those applications properly, and can she confirm that that discussion is under way?

More generally, does the Foreign Secretary agree that the integrated review is now rather badly out of date? Will she give us any indication of the thinking within the Government about updating and refreshing it, because it strikes me that that needs to be done urgently?