A Catholic politician has led calls from MPs urging Britons who were stranded abroad because of coronavirus to share their stories as part of an examination into the Foreign Office’s response to the crisis.
The Commons Foreign Affairs Committee issued the call to see how effective the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) was at helping get people back to the UK, and whether embassies are providing a consistent and effective service.
Catholic MP Tom Tugendhat, Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, said: “The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has left tens of thousands of British citizens stranded and in need of urgent consular support.
“In some cases these individuals are key workers; police officers, nurses and doctors, who are desperate to return to their lives in the UK and to aid in our effort to combat the spread of coronavirus. Sometimes they are people who are running out of essential medication.
“Embassies and consular services are the backbone of the FCO’s work abroad and the current pandemic has placed this system under considerable strain.
“At moments of acute crisis like this, the FCO’s role representing and protecting Britons abroad becomes more important than ever.
“The Foreign Affairs Committee wants to hear from those who have recent experiences, both positive and negative, accessing and utilising consular services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We need to hear from you. Your story has the potential to direct the focus of the committee and to hone our understanding of the problems that British citizens stranded abroad face.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced last week that “tens of thousands” of stranded British travellers would be flown home under a new partnership between the Government and airlines.
The deadline for submissions, via the committee’s website, is Monday 13th April.
Picture: The Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the European travel sector is clear to see at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in The Netherlands on 2nd April 2020. Europes third-busiest airport has reduced its capacity. Only two piers are now in use for passenger flights, and check-in is limited to two departure areas only. (Utrecht Robin/ABACAPRESS.COM/ABACA/PA).