Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil has been in constant contact with the Home Office over the last week regarding the evacuation of charity workers – who are associated with his constituency – from Afghanistan.
The Linda Norgrove Foundation, run by John and Lorna Norgrove who live on the Isle of Lewis, is currently trying to secure the safe evacuation of their two employees and one family connected with them, including a husband and a baby.
The current situation is that all details have been relayed to the Home Office by multiple emails, phone calls, and various other channels; and it is now a waiting game to see if evacuation can be secured.
The charity Nowzad, which has membership locally, have also called on Mr MacNeil for assistance in ensuring workers can safely leave Afghanistan. Visas have now been secured and a cargo plane is on standby, yet there are now issues arising with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) allowing flight entry.
Mr MacNeil said: “It is important that the Linda Norgrove Foundation get their two employees and the one family connected with them – a husband and a baby – out of Afghanistan.
“They have helped with the aims of the Foundation and the UK Government will, I hope, be cognisant of that.
“Certainly, it’s a stress for the Foundation and for the rest of us trying to get the UK Government to move people in this chaos. It still isn’t clear whether it’s an aircraft issue or a bureaucratic issue or simply the terrible attitude that the UK Government has towards migrants and that is the root of the problem.
“Regardless, this should be about people’s lives and these people should be assisted in getting out of Afghanistan.”
Mr MacNeil has already added his name to a cross-party letter to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, urging the UK Government to play its full part in providing a compassionate and responsible response to those seeking safety from Afghanistan. Mr MacNeil is pleased to hear that Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is involved in the scheme to provide refuge for families from Afghanistan and may welcome some families in the future.
Mr MacNeil has been contacted by a large number of constituents expressing huge concerns for the people of Afghanistan and also for British nationals and their families working in Afghanistan as the Taliban takeover continues and will continue to relay those specific concerns to the UK Government.
Mr MacNeil has also written to the Home Secretary and the Foreign Office specifically on the issues raised with him by constituents.