LONDON – British transport minister Grant Shapps said on Friday he had arranged to take in a family of Ukrainian refugees who contacted him on Facebook – a six-year-old boy, his mother, grandmother and the family dog, Max.
Shapps was one of more than 100,000 Britons who have signed up to a government scheme to match those fleeing war in Ukraine with families who can offer them a minimum of six months shelter.
The scheme was announced earlier this month after heavy criticism from campaigners and opposition lawmakers of the government’s approach to allowing refugees into Britain.
Britain has insisted on security checks and pre-entry visas for those seeking to come from Ukraine, while the European Union, which has land borders with Ukraine, has taken a less restrictive approach.
Shapps said there were some outstanding visa issues to be resolved with the family who contacted him, but he looked forward to welcoming them to his home as soon as possible.
“We had the conversation as a family about this, and of course it means the house is more crowded and there’s less room for a desk to study at,” Shapps told the Good Morning Britain programme on ITV.
“But every time we came to the end of the conversation, we thought ‘But look at what’s happening to these people, look at what’s happening to their home’.”