A CROSS-PARTY group of MPs has made a direct appeal to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab for more help for UK citizens left stranded abroad and struggling during the coronavirus lockdown.

People who travelled before the ban and have been unable to get home from Argentina, Pakistan, Gambia and other nations have accused British embassies of failing to support them.

Yesterday The National told how Angus MP Dave Doogan (above) had spent two weeks trying to help a constituent who is stuck in Ghanaian capital Accra.

He said members of the public were being told to contact an “inoperative” Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) email account, telephone calls were going unanswered and conflicting advice was being given to those affected.

It’s not known how many UK citizens are still abroad, but the UK Government has said it could range from 300,000 to one million and insists it has “teams around the world” who are “working urgently to ensure that governments have sensible plans to enable the return of British and other travellers”.

And it has also emerged that the UK has secured European Union support to help cover repatriation costs and bring people home from America and other countries.

But the MP group – which includes the SNP’s Alyn Smith, Caroline Lucas of the Green Party, Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville-Roberts, Colum Eastwood of the SDLP and Stephen Farry of the Alliance Party – are pressing the Foreign Secretary for further action for those running out of money, medicine and supplies overseas.

In a letter to Raab, they say commercial flights alone are not an “adequate solution for our constituents”, with many airlines unable to operate due to virus control restrictions and others now charging “exorbitant” prices.

The message states: “You will be aware of widespread concern across the House that many of us have significant numbers of constituents trapped abroad, far from home and their loved ones during this unprecedented crisis. Many are running out of funds or medicine – in some cases both.

“We agree that the commercial airlines are the fastest way back for people trapped abroad, but we recognise that this alone is not an adequate solution for our constituents. Many airlines are unable to fly due to travel restrictions while others are charging exorbitant prices.

“We are pleased to see some evacuation charters being organised, as well as co-operation with EU countries, and would urge this to be stepped up.

“We would also like to offer our thanks to FCO staff, who we know are working hard in difficult circumstances. Not only will further evacuation flights alleviate pressure on them and the FCO network, but it is becoming clear that such flights are now the only answer to a pressing problem which will only get worse in the absence of increased action from the UK Government.”

Smith commented: “There are serious concerns that a significant number of UK nationals and constituents trapped abroad – through no fault of their own – are facing extreme difficulties and are increasingly being pushed towards hardship. We are hearing worrying accounts of UK citizens who are running out of money, medicines and supplies, while still being left in the dark about how they can return home.”

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