"EVACUATION FLIGHTS NEEDED TO REPATRIATE DESPERATE CITIZENS" - UK GOVERNMENT URGED TO ACT
The Scottish National Party (SNP) has called on the UK government, to which powers are reserved, to urgently repatriate citizens overseas who are stranded overseas due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Ian Blackford MP has written to Foreign Secretary Dominic Rabb calling for evacuation flights to help the many thousands of people stuck abroad in stressful situations.
Mr Blackford also criticised airlines which are inflating the cost of the few remaining flight routes.
MPs are hearing from constituents in dire circumstances. A programme of repatriation can be implemented by rolling out a programme of evacuation flights using furloughed commercial aircraft and volunteer pilots and crew.
Ian Blackford MP said:
"Since the initial stages of the Covid-19 crisis, constituency offices have been inundated with requests for help from citizens abroad. Their circumstances may be different but their plight is the same - they currently have no way to return home.”
Patricia Gibson MP added:
"These are people stranded abroad through no fault of their own. In many cases, constituents have run out of money, medicine or are naturally desperate to return home to care for their families in Scotland during this time of crisis. The situation is not helped by irresponsible airlines choosing to over-inflate prices for the few remaining flights.
"We simply don’t know when this crisis will end, so asking these people to wait it out is unacceptable.
“Trying to elicit help from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or overseas embassies and consulates has been extremely difficult. The UK Government must act now; they cannot leave our citizens stranded any longer.