Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil has expressed his exasperation at the attitude of the UK Home Office as regards to refugees coming from war-torn Ukraine.

Mr MacNeil has been contacted by a high number of constituents across the islands throughout this week who are disgusted by the UK Home Office’s heartless attitude to refugees.

He said: “I am dismayed at the fanatical attitude towards refugees displayed by the Home Office. It seems to hold very extremist views. The UK is alone in Europe and no other country is doing what the UK is doing.

“Personally, I have been working with a family in Lewis trying to get relations back and despite the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, telling me that there was a task-force coming in a week last Tuesday and that she was dealing with the matter personally, nothing has changed materially for these people.

“In fact, in the Chamber I had cross words with the Home Secretary because of the weakness of her response to what is an extremely serious situation.

“It angers me daily that there is still no progress for people and indeed, some are becoming so dismayed and disheartened with the UK’s approach that they have decided not to come.

“At one stage we had the situation that if people had begun the Visa process with their appointment in Warsaw, if they wanted to change their appointment to Dublin, they would have to restart the entire Visa process.

“This may have ameliorated somewhat in the last few days, but it is still far below what every other decent European country is doing.

“The situation is doubly worse in the UK in that the principal opposition party – the Labour Party – are also in the extreme fanatical wing and want to get people who are fleeing for their lives to get down to the pen-pushing bureaucracy of acquiring a visa.  Both need a check with reality and a check with decency.

“People who have to get out of a war-torn country should be welcomed with open arms. They should not be kept out in the cold, as was literally seen in -5C in some British institutions in Poland on their way to an appointment at UK application centres which were ill-prepared to deal with the amount of people.

“If Ireland, with a population of 5m, can let in far more people than the UK which has a far greater population, then the Tory UK Government and the principal opposition Labour Party, need to have a good, hard look at what they are doing.

“At least some compassion here in the islands, outside the Westminster political bubble of Tory and Labour, is that people are asking when refugees are coming and are looking to help. The Westminster situation is far different to the attitude of normal people.

“The reason they are coming to Ireland is because Ireland is independent. Scotland isn’t independent and that is why we are dealing with the extremists and the fanatics at the disorganised UK Government Home Office.”