The House

Wife of Ukraine ambassador makes refugee plea to MPs


The wife of Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK has told a cross-party group of women MPs of her despair at seeing the country she loves destroyed by Russian aggression. Inna Prystaiko said: “Seeing everything we have had our whole lives taken away from us, is unbearable.”

Ms Prystaiko, who is married to ambassador Vadym Prystaiko, was hosted by Lady Catherine Hoyle – wife of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle – and met with MPs Nickie Aiken, Judith Cummins, Flick Drummond, Joanna Cherry and Sarah Olney at Speaker’s House.

Ms Prystaiko said refugees from Ukraine needed somewhere safe to live until the war is over, after which they would then want to return to their home country. The meeting came as former Conservati­ve MP Richard Harrington was elevated to the House of Lords and appointed minister for refugees.

Now Lord Harrington of Watford, he was introduced to the Upper House the day after the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme was launched, having already taken up his ministeria­l portfolio. He is in charge of co-ordinating the United Kingdom’s response to the humanitari­an crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Harrington’s new brief is shared between the Home Office and Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communitie­s. He was MP for Watford between 2010 and 2019, temporaril­y losing the whip in September 2019 for rebelling against the government over the prospect of a no-deal Brexit. He had been a minister in the Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

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