MP praises Ipswich vigil as he calls for 'compassionate spirit' toward refugees

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has said the UK needed to take in Ukrainian refugees and show a "compassionate spirit".

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has said the UK needed to take in Ukrainian refugees and show a "compassionate spirit". - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN/PAUL GEATER

An MP has praised Ipswich as a "compassionate town with humanity at its heart", as he called for the UK to accept more Ukrainians as they fled the war with Russia.  

Tom Hunt, MP for Ipswich, said 600 people gathering on the Cornhill on Wednesday evening was a "powerful gesture" from the people of the town.

He said Ukrainian constituents had been supported with "bouquets of flowers left on their doorsteps and endless amounts of warm words".

On Thursday, home secretary Priti Patel promised a streamlined online visa application system for Ukrainians.

Mr Hunt said he was "very keen" for the UK to show compassion towards people fleeing the conflict. 

He said: "It's a desperate situation. It is incredibly distressing for anybody who cares about humanity.

"I am – like all of the constituents who have contacted me about this issue – very keen for us to move and move in quite a big way to show the compassionate spirit of this country and to provide a safe haven for a significant number of Ukrainian people who are fleeing this warzone.

"But we do also have to realise that this is going to present a significant challenge to us as a country and to local councils up and down the country. 

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"It's a challenge that I believe that we have to meet. And it's one that I believe that we should meet for humanitarian reasons, and because it is quite simply the right thing to do. But I think it is one that we're going to have to be prepared for."

Mr Hunt said he did not believe all checks should be waived for Ukrainian people applying to come into the UK.

He said: "The decision that the Home Secretary has made, to not waive all checks, has been influenced and heavily driven by the advice of our security services.

"I think we've got to trust the advice of our security services. They have the best interest of the country at heart."