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tv   Prime Ministers Questions Time  CSPAN  March 7, 2022 12:00am-12:46am EST

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i want to welcome to our gallery the ukraine ambassador. [applause]
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your excellence, we generally do not allow applause in this chamber but in this occasion we demonstrate our respect and support for your country and its people in the most difficult of times. before we start, i would like to point out sign language interpretation is available to watch on parliament live tv we now come to questions prime minister. graham stewart. >> question one. mr. speaker, i was in warsaw reaffirming our commitment to nato and solidarity with ukraine. putin has gravely miscalculated. in his assault on a sovereign nation he has shown the fortitude of the ukrainian people. the u.n. general assembly will vote later today and we call on every nation to join us in
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condemning russia and demanding that putin turn his tanks around. if instead he doubles down we will also. every pound donated by the british people will be matched by the british government starting with 20 million pounds. i shall have meetings later today. >> men, women, children, terrorized, murdered and maimed. indiscriminate munitions unleashed on civilian populations with a total disregard both for international law and human life. can my right honorable friend assure the house that we will
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accelerate the transfer of military supplies to the ukrainians and maintain this country's proud record of support for refugees fleeing war? >> i thank my right honorable friend. i hope i can say that i speak for the whole house when i spoke to president zelensky this morning and told him, mr. speaker, that we would indeed do everything we can to accelerate our transfer of the shipments that he describes, the weapon he is describes. the u.k. was the first european country to send such defensive weaponry and we are certainly determined to do everything we can to help ukrainians fleeing the theater of conflict. >> now the leader of the opposition. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i'm very glad the ambassador is here so he can hear me repeat what i've said to him privately on a number of occasions and
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that is that this house, this country, stand united in our support with the ukrainian people in the face of russian aggression. we're all appalled by the shocking footage that has emerged over the last few days. we must stand up to putin and those who prop up his regime. mr. speaker, roman abramovic is the owner of chelsea football club and various other high-value assets in the united kingdom. he's of interest to the home office because of his links to the russian state and his public association with corrupt activity and practices. last week the prime minister staid sade that abramovic is facing sanctions but later corrected the record to say he isn't. why on earth isn't he? >> mr. speaker, it's not appropriate for me to comment on individual cases at this stage but -- but what i can say, and i
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stand by what i said, what we put on the record. but no doubt the actions we have already taken this house has already taken, are having an effect in moscow and by exposing the ownership of properties of companies in the way that we are, by sanctioning 275 individuals already, a further00 last week, the impact is being felt. and what we will publish in addition, mr. speaker is a full list of all those associated with the putin regime. of course we have already announced saptions on putin and lavrov themselves. i can tell they will refer to what the president of the united states had to say last night. the viez is tight -- the vise is tightening on the putin regime and will continue to tighten. >> i hear what the prime minister says and the way he
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puts it, i hope that means we'll see some action in the near future. last week, putin summoned to the kremlin to strengthen his regime who dipped their hands in the blood of putin's war. they include chalav who owns two flats not five minute's walk from this house. they're worth over 11 million pounds. he's on the e.u. sanctions list but not the u.k. sanctions list. when will the prime minister sort this out? >> mr. speaker, i think the house should be proud of what we have done already. and i can tell him that there is more to be done and thanks to the powers that this house and this government has taken, we can sanction any individual, any company, connected with the putin regime and this government
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was amongst the first in europe to ban aeroflot from our skies. this government led the way last week in banning the use of swift, mr. speaker. and if you talk to all, any of our european partner he is would understand the leading role the u.k. has already played and the impact, the impact that those sanctions are already having in moscow. as i told him, the squeeze is growing and it will continue to grow on the putin regime. >> i support the actions taken so far. the ownership of these flats is listed under sober real estate which is own by chavalav and his wife. we only know what oligarch is bind that company because of alexei navalny who was poisoned
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by the russian states and now sits in a putin jail. transparency is important to root out corruption. it should be built inta our law but it's not. i'm ashamed we only know about these flats because a dissident risked his life. mr. prime minister. >> mr. speaker, i repeat that the u.k. of course is doing everything we can to expose ill-gotten russian loot. this has been something that we've been working on for a long time. that we actually were the first to impose sanctions on those who poisoned, gl of the poisoning of navalny that he mentioned. but what we are bringing forward now is the exposure of the ownership of properties in london and across the whole of the u.k. in a way that's not been possible before and i believe will continue to tighten
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the noose around putin's regime. being no doubt it was the u.k., mr. speaker, that led the way putting sanctions on the russian central bank, putting sanctions on russian banks altogether and i'm afraid we're still out in advance of several of our friends and partners we want them to go further. i believe they will. we will continue to put pressure, mr. speaker, on the putin regime. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the prime minister refers to the long overdue economic crime bill which we support and will vote through on monday with speed but key to that is a register of who truly owns property in the united kingdom. it doesn't come into force for existing owners like chavalav until 18 months after the bill passes. at best that's autumn, 2023. far too long for the ukrainian people. why are we give peug tin's cronies 18 months to quietly
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launder their money out of u.k. property market and into another safe haich? >> mr. speaker, the impact of what the u.k. is doing, the impact -- i think the whole house should be proud of what we have done. we have led the way on this. led the way on swift. led the way on aeroflot, led the way on assets and banks. he talks about the speed of results, i can tell him on thursday the russian stock market fell by $250 million worth, the ruble fell by about 40%. we're now in the third day, mr. speaker, in which the russian stock market has not been able to open. that is thanks to the package of global sanctions, western sanctions, that the u.k. has led in enforcing on the putin regime. he should acknowledge that. >> he has acknowledged it. >> i have acknowledged it and do
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again. what i'm offering is support to speed this up. on monday the prime minister know he is has the house with him when he economic crime bill goes through. we could do this on monday at speed. but i think the whole house would welcome that. so it's an invitation to work together, prime minister. the business department published a white pain they are week. it rightly sets out that the u.k.'s companies register is being exploited to further the interests of the u.k.'s enemies to help them move stolen money into the west. but the same department on the same day publied an economic rhyme bill which did nothing to address this which leaves companies untouched and still exploited. will the prime minister work with us to amend the bill on monday toin collude the most basic reforms like identity checks for directors? >> as i have said, mr. speaker, we are bringing forward at an accelerated pace measures to whip aside the veil of anonymity
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of those who own assets and property in this country and furthermore we'll be publying a list of all those, mr. speaker, who are -- have assets that are related to the putin regime. i'm delighted by the support of the right honorable gentleman is offering, if we can work together to make sure we strengthen and accelerate the package, all the better. >> mr. speaker, we will work in ha spirit to bring forward amendments on monday to try to achieve all the ends identified in these ke questions. i think it can be voted through on monday with the full support of the house. i'm please wed can show that unity with the ambassador here watching us. in this week of darkness, we have seen glimmers of hope. in the resolve of ukraine, in the unity of our allies, and in the bravery of russian protesters. they remind us that the russian people are not our enemy. they are the victims of thieves.
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who have stolen their wealth and stolen their chance at democracy. for too long, britain has been a safe haven for stolen money. putin thinks we're too corrupted to do the right thing and put an end to it. does the prime minister agree that this house, this country, stands united in our support for ukraine and now is the time to sanction every oligarch and crack open every shell company so we can prove putin wrong? >> yessing mr. speaker. that's why this government has brought forward the unprecedented measures that we have. if i may, i know that the whole house will agree with me that nothing we do in rooting out corruption and corrupt money in london or any other capital should for one minute, and i want to agree with him very strongly, should distract from
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where the true blame of the crisis lies which is wholly, exclusively and entirely with vladimir putin and his regime. and i am glad that the -- that they are as resolved as we are that putin must fail in his venture and we must ensure, mr. speaker, that we protect a sovereign free and independent ukraine. that is what we're going to do with the unity of this house, mr. speaker, with the continued heroism, with the continued heroism and resolve of the ukrainian people which is so amazing that we've seen over the last few days. and with the unity of the west we have seen. which i think has also taken aback president putin. i have no doubt at all he will fail and we will succeed in protecting ukraine. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. can i first of all say how brave
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the ukrainian people are and they have our full support. i also commend the prime minister and the government for the excellent actions we have taken so far. ukraine is very much the bread basket of the world and it grows much wheat and so therefore prime minister, i think we need to have -- make sure there is food security and also security of global food supplies. would the prime minister agree with me that we also need to look to our production in this country to make sure that we can maintain good stands of food production and enhance our food production in order to keep good food and affordable food for the future? >> yes, my honorable friend knows whereof he speaks, mr. speaker. he's a great advocate of u.k. food and farming. and that's why we increased to 48 million pounds, we have a massive opportunity for u.k. pruitt and vegetables.
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>> thank you, mr. speaker. can i join you in welcoming the ukrainian ambassador to our proceedings. mr. speaker, with every passing hour the world is witnessing the horrors of putin's war in ukraine. a family of five, a mother, her parents, her 6-year-old daughter, and her baby son, were murdered in cold blood by russian troops. in the same city, a 12-year-old boy watched his mother die as he desperately attempted to save her from the rubble of their own home. these are war crimes happening in europe right now. vladimir putin is a war criminal. and one day soon, putin must face jsties in the hague. mr. speaker, to prosecute putin and his regime, the full range of war crime charges immediate to be used including the crime of aggression by a state. but the u.k. has always refused
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to sign up for the prosecution of this crime in international law. surely with putin's crime of aggression in plain and horrific sight in ukraine now is time to drop that opposition in will the prime minister neat with me to discuss this and amend the u.k. war crimes act and support i.c.c. for putin for his crimes of aggression against people? >> i'm in principle of course happy to meet with the gentleman at any stage. i can tell him what we have seen already from vladimir putin's regime and the use of the munitions they have already been dropping on innocent civilians, mr. speaker, in my view, already fully qualifies a as war crime. i know the i.t.c. prosecutor is already investigating. i'm sure the whole house will support that. >> i thank the prime minister for that answer. let's work together across the house to make sure putin is
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prosecuted, he is held to account. mr. speaker, just as we seek to punish and prosecute putin for his crimes we need to help the ukrainian people right now. hundreds of thousands of ukrainians are fleeing the horrors of this war and the desperate -- they desperately need refuge and sanctuary. the u.n. estimates well over a half million refugees need help, most of them women and children. that is a moment for europe to stand united. the european union have acted and waived all vita requirements for ukrainian refugees. the u. conform government stands alone on our continent in so far refusing to do the same. scotland's first minister has made clear our country stands ready to open our borders and hearts to the people of ukraine but the government of ukraine must bring down the barriers. won't the prime minister agrea to waive visa requirements for the people fleeing ukraine.
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>> the e.u. has its own arrangements with ukraine. they differed for a long time if those of the u.k. but what we do have is a plan,ing mr.ering to be as generous as we possibly can to the people of ukraine and the numbers that will come under our family reunion scheme could be in the hundreds of thousands to say nothing of the special new path we're opening up for those coming, the humanitarian path, mr. speaker, that is also uncapped. i think that's the right thing to do. what we won't do, mr. speaker, is simply abandon all checks we don't think that's sensible particularly in view of the security concerns, the reasonable security concerns about people coming from that theater of war. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. on the 28th of july last year, every lay hour -- labour counselor voted in favor of the plan to enclose 493 square mile clean air charging zone for my
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constituents and the residents of greater manchester. the plan attacks on jobs on opportunity is based on flawed data and should be scrapped. is my -- does my right honorable friend agree? >> yes, mr. speaker. this is somebody who once had to deal with a badly thought out low emission zone before, it is totally wrong to impose measures thoughtlessly. the damage -- they damage business and don't do much to protect clean air. the mayor has done the wrong thing and i'm glad we're going to -- i congratulate my friend and other local m.p.'s in the manchester area who have shown commonsense, mr. speaker. >> my constituents worked for the british international school in the ukraine. the school employees 60 british citizens, most of whoam thankfully escaped via bus over the weekend.
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i heard the prime minister's response earlier on to my colleague from the s.m.p. but given the lack of a humanitarian corridor, 173 ukrainian colleagues from this that school are stuck in kyiv and are ineligible for the humanitarian sponsorship pathway due to the school being domiciled in the ukraine. our neighbors in airld have waived all visa requirements for three years. why won't he allow us to provide the same humanitarian welcome? >> thank you very much. i'm obviously -- we do want to help the 173 that she mentioned in ukraine. i think the arrangements that we have are right and they will be very joans you, already are very joan rouse indeed. thing house should be proud of what the u.k. has already done. to take people, to take vulnerable people. i think they've taken more as a rule mecial people since 2015
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fleeing theaters of conflict than any other country in europe. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. the nurses and doctors working at warrenton hospital in my constituency provide selfless care for families living in some of the most deprived arias of england where life expectancy is 12 years lower than that of the national average. at the same time population has expanded with thousands of new homes being built in warrington, putting pressure on services particularly at the general hospital. does the prime minister agrea with me that tackling health inequalities is key to leveling up? and will he support my campaign for a new hospital in warrington? >> mr. speaker, i -- i know that the government is building a record number of hospitals. a total of 48 we're building across the country. i am forbid p, unfortunately, from preempting the application
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process. i'm wishing him every possible success. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the situation in ukraine continues to appall most of the world and shame the rest but importantly highlights the need to break our economic dependency on russia and china. does the prime minister agree our national security must be protected and our food, energy, cyber and national infrastructure must be secure both now and in the future from hostile governments specifically will he commit to a real strategy that both industry and trade unions are calling for by doubling the hydrogen production target for 2030? >> yes. i thank her very much. for a-sighted question. that's exactly what we should be doing. we are moving to much more energy resilience and self-reliance. i think it was a shame that the party opposite canceled so much of our nuclear power while they were -- they failed to develop
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it. but the agenda that she has set is absolutely right including hydrogen. >> thank you, mr. speaker. last september, my constituent, a 17-year-old footballer collapsed and died in a game. his family and club raised money in his honor to buy more defibrillators on scythe but were faced with a v.a.t. bill of hundreds of pounds on each life-saving device. will my right honorable friend commit to reviewing the v.a.t. on commercial defibrillators to bring them in line with the zero rate applied to every omedical strums? and will he meet with me, dylan's family and his club, to discuss this much-needed change. >> i thank her very much. i think the whole house ill echo my condo loanses to dylan's friends and family. she raises an important and
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emoitive issue. defibrillators at this moment are bought through voluntary contributions and toe nateed to charities that may be eligible for v.a.t. relief, mr. speaker. but i'm very happy to meet with her to discuss the matter further. >> will the prime minister instruct the conservative party to give to ukrainian humanitarian causes the 2 million pounds they've accepted, including 80,000 pounds in data released today by the electoral commission. i know he doesn't want to tell everyone with russian links with the same brush and neither do i. but leaked documents -- they might want to listen to the question, mr. speaker. leaked documents show that chanukin received $8 million from a member of parliament, an ally of putin, later sanctioned by the yates.
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this is an opportunity for the party and the prime minister to end the suspicion of conflicts of interest with putin while showing solidarity with the ukrainian people. >> it is absolutely vital,, if we are to have a successful outcome in what we are trying to do, collectively, united with ukraine that we demonstrate that this is not about the russian people, mr. speaker. this is about the putin regime. >> thank you, mr. speaker. does my right honorable friend agrea that choices always have consequences? putin has chosen, he has czyz -- chosen to inflict death and destruction on the people ukraine and must be made to pay. but others including those in the russian military and russian oligarchs cowl still choose to be on the right side of history. will my right honorable friend and other world leaders tell them to make the right choice
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and to make it soon because in this conflict, time is life. >> ic my right honorable friend has made a power. and important point. i do hope that those who have any links with the putin regime whatever, anybody, any so-called ol gashes, all those that he -- all those who are in any way associated with the regime take this opportunity as somehow, some brave individuals already have, to disassociate themselves from this barbaric invasion. >> thank you, mr. speaker. two weeks ago in a letter to the prime minister i outlined over a half a million people in the u.k. are immuno compromised and to them the idea of living with covid is frightening and many charities up such as the m.s. society is not sure why the government is risk erestrictioning around isolation and testing.
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does the prime minister agree with me that free testing must continue and include family and friends as well as any other unpate careers so they can really be allowed to live through covid? >> i thank the gentlelady, i said to her i think last week, it is essential that those who are immunocompromised continue to have access to free testing and the -- all the therapies an anti-rierls they need. anti-virals they need. >> sorry, forgive me, mr. speaker. thank you. i thank my -- >> i thank my ron habl -- honorable friend for his question. we are reviewing response on a range of leblg slative proposals including foreign registration.
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we'll update parliament in due course. >> i'd like to thank the ukrainian ambassador -- >> key oligarchs enforce the conflict. in britain one of its aims is to ensure safe passage so money flows offshore while firms intimidate and silent those who would investigate be it the media or the national crime agency. does the prime minister understand that this is how state corruption happens and this is systemic, planned, subversion. does he realize the seriousness of what's been happening to the law and finance companies in recent years? >> he's raising a very important point and the law firms in this
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country are regulated by the regulation authority. they were reminded on the 23rd of february the knead to comply with sanctions regulations, legislation, and there are regular checks to ensure that they are doing so. they have responsibilities under that regime to safeguard the u.k. and to protect the reputation of the united kingdom people services industry. they will face sanctions if they fill to do so. >> thank you, mr. speaker. putin is the only enemy. but i do feel ashamed. the united kingdom signed the budapest accord in 1994 guaranteeing the territorial integrity of ukraine. 23 men who once sat on these benches gave their live for a plucky little belgium to have shields down that end. 22 did the same for poland. they have shields down this end.
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and we're in the guaranteeing the territorial integrity of ukraine. we're not even, i don't want war, nobody wants war. but we're not even sanctioning sergei shoiku, the russian defense minister yet. nor igor osapov, the leader of the black sea fleet, abramovic, rodug, n or the members of the duma who voted for the war. why don't we use parliamentary privilege to get this out there so the lawyers can't attack the sanctions we must surely bring rapidly today? >> mr. speaker, i hear him and i know that the whole house will understand his feelings and his frustration that no country in the west is going directly to the support of the ukrainians with direct military assistance. and that is a reality we have to
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accept. the consequences of a direct confrontation between the u.k. and russia would be, i think, and other western countries, would not be easy to control. if i can repeat the point i made earlier, i think they'd play directly into pew ten's narrative. this is about -- he said it's about him versus the west he said it's about him versus nato we say it's about him versus the ukrainian people, mr. speaker. that's the difference. as for his -- what he says about shame, actually, i'm proud of what the u.k. has been able to do so far. i'm proud that we've given a lead, not just on sanctions, mr. speaker, where we insisted on the measures including one with dramatic effect but we were in the lead, mr. speaker, of all european countries in offering military assistance to ukraine
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and will continue to do so. i know that he would like to go further. if i understand connect correctly he'd like to go further. but i tell the house we will continue to go further not just with military stance but also by tightening the vise on the putin regime. >> mr. speaker, in addition to the tragedy in ukraine i know the prime minister also wants to slash red tape to make britain more internationally competitive. david cameron succeeded but after he left we abandoned his average and that's billions in red tape kroses. last month brexit documents repeat the mistakes, can i urge the prime minister to step in before it's too late otherwise the blob will win and we'll fail to deliver a key benefit of brexit? >> mr. speaker i'm delighted to say we have a new secretary of state for pros-preks sit freedom.
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and he is driving a campaign to reform, repeal, and replace outdated legislation and regulation across the board and i don't know about the blob, mr. speaker, i can think of no more fearsome antagonist for the blob than my right honorable friend. >> mr. speaker, satellite images show a 40-mile-long convoy of military hardware heading toward surrounding the city of -- cities of ukraine. we know from grozny what the sweks of vladimir putin will be. hundreds of thousands of people are going to be murdered in these cities. think of -- in this house, everybody, think of your families. think of your neighbors. think of relatives you might have abroad. they are going to be murdered. the prime minister has led the world in reaction to what is going on, i'm proud of what he's
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done. can i ask my right honorable friend, i know he's not been to bed for a week, but can he use every second he's got until this tragedy unfolds to try to prevent it happening. >> this is of course one of the subjects i discussed this morning with zelensky. doing many people looking at it, quickly, mr. they will wonder why is it impossible to interrupt the progress of those tanks with -- with air strikes or from a drone which we know the ukrainians have. tech incomely it is not as easy as you might think, mr. speaker. the tragic reality is that vladimir putin will continue to grind his war machine forward if he possibly can. that's why it is vital that we continue toe military support that we are offering and that is why it is also vital that together with the united states, with all our friends and partners in the west, we intensity and -- intensify ansel brait the program of sanctions
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that is already in place. >> mr. speaker, london is known as the world's capital for corrupt russian money. a hundred billion pounds a year is awash in our country. and this scale of this corruption couldn't happen if it weren't -- without what the intelligence and security committee describe as the enablers, the lawyers, accountants, specialists, including those who challenge our brave, independent journalists for identifying them. the prime minister didn't respond fully, i think, to the honorable members from the isle of wight in terms of how he will tack they will activity of these enablers who for too long have been corrupting the rule of law in our country. >> i thank -- with great respect, mr. speaker, let me repeat again, reinforce what i said to my right honorable
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friend from the isle of wythe. the legal profession, everybody involved in assisting those who wish to hide money in london, acysting corrupt oligarchs have been set on notice that their actions are under scrutiny and where they break the law if they break the law if they undermine the interests of this country and advancing putin's war machine they'll pay a price. >> thank you, mr. speaker. in >> thank you. in the last few days i've been overwhelmed and heartened by the incredible response of my constituents to the crisis in ukraine. with countless offers of accommodation and financial support for refugees. but the community sponsorship is very slow process and it will struggle to meet the challenge that we face. does the prime minister agree with me that we need a faster and more effective route and a
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better way to help the refugees and the people of ukraine than the government's current proposal? prime minister johnson: i thank you very much. i know everyone is with her and what she's trying to do. i talked to our polish friends yesterday about what we can do, a partnership with them, to bring people directly to the u.k. who are fleeing to poland. and i set out for the house, as i know my right honorable friend has already. the big, big package of measures that we're putting in to help people fleeing -- fleeing ukraine. i just want to repeat, look at the numbers we took from afghanistan. look at the numbers of b.n.o.'s from hong kong. there are huge numbers of people that have come to the u.k. i think we settled 25,000 vulnerable people since 2015, which is more than any other european country. so we should be proud of our record. >> my grandfather was ukrainian.
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i am proud that my ukrainian heritage and also -- the nation of my family has been up tosh -- of putin's army. i know the world is watching our country. can the prime minister make assurances that ensure that putin will have the toughest sanctions and also focusing on his inother circle? prime minister johnson: yes, mr. speaker. that's why we've begun with him and we're also -- with sergei lavrov, but there's no limit on what we can do on his regime. we will continue to do that. kind of echo what he said about our debt to the ukrainian people. never forget when we stood side by side with russia in the 1940's against fascism, mr. speaker. it was the ukrainian army, the contribution to that army was 10
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million people and they were absolutely invaluable to freedom as well. >> thank you, mr. speaker. prime minister, scotland stands ready to welcome any fleeing ukrainian. however, this government has failed to follow the example of the european union of a red tape approach. will the prime minister commit to an unconditional legal approach to settlement for ukrainians fleeing this invasion? why is he failing to do so? prime minister johnson: mr. speaker, as i explained to the house already several times, the e.u. has a border-free zone. it's not appropriate for them to have checks of any kind. we got a different system. it is sensible given the situation that we have and given the large numbers of people leaving that war zone. it's essential to have checks and to make sure, mr. speaker, that we know who is coming in. but what we will not do is
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impede ukrainians coming in fear of their lives. the country, as i said several times today, has a proud, proud record of taking people in. look at what we've already done -- look at the record just under my prime ministership. look at the -- look at what we've done to help the hong kong chinese. she should be proud of what the u.k. is doing. >> that ends the prime minister's questions. point of order.
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