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16th May, 2022

Solihull resident in MP protest over delays helping Ukrainian family

Ross Crawford 12th May, 2022

A FURIOUS Solihull businessman says he is prepared to camp outside borough MP Julian Knight’s constituency office over UK delays in getting a family from war torn Ukraine to safety.

Mark Embley and his wife Cecelia volunteered to offer a home to refugees fleeing the Russian invasion, and were accepted by the UK government.

They were matched with Ukrainian mum Maria and her two daughters aged six and one who had escaped the bloodshed and made it to Warsaw in Poland.

Neither of the children had biometric passports and these took time to be approved.

The family then had to apply for visas to travel to the UK and these eventually came through two weeks ago.

All this time, as Poland creaks from the demands of caring for the millions of refugees who have crossed the border, the Embleys have accommodated Maria and her family in AirBnB accommodation in Warsaw.

“Like hundreds of other people in the UK all we are trying to do is get a family to safety over here,” said Mark.

“These people have been waiting weeks for the Home Office to get its act together.

“UK Visas and Immigration clearly told us the only people who can speed the process up is the Home Office and the only way to get through to them is through your MP.”

He said he made his initial contact with the Solihull Conservative constituency office on Thursday when he caught a fleeting glance of the MP as he dashed out to a meeting.

Since then he has put his case to Julian Knight’s staff, and says he is prepared to sit it out until something is done.

“Julian Knight needs to say to Boris Johnson ‘I stood behind you over partygate, now sort out this mess’,” said Mark.

“We had a text from Maria this morning (Wednesday) in which she said the process is taking too long, she is feeling guilty about what she sees as our generosity and now she is about to pick-up her kids and walk back into a war zone.

“This is just not on.”

Mr Knight said: “My staff have spent almost half a day each day for the last three to four days trying to sort out this situation.

“They cannot do anymore than they are already doing, they have gone and are going above and beyond to ensure this situation is resolved.”

The Solihull Observer contacted the Home Office for a comment, who passed us on to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, who, despite knowing our deadline, failed to get back to us.

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