Keir Starmer has told listeners of a call-in radio show that while he is in praise of the thousands of members of the British public who have applied to welcome a Ukrainian refugee into their home, due to “practical issues,” he won’t be one of them.
Speaking to LBC radio show host Nick Ferrari during Starmer’s regular monthly call-in show on the platform, the Labour leader of the U.K.’s opposition party said “we’d all like to play our part,” but revealed there would be issues that would prevent him, as a high-profile politician, from opening up his home to those displaced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Pressed as to what those issues may be, Starmer reiterated that it may be “difficult” without elaborating.
Despite his apparent inability to house a refugee, the Labour leader wished to “salute” the generosity of the many thousands of people who have applied to open up their homes.
“I have been incredibly struck by the generosity of the British public in terms of the thousands upon thousands of people that are going to take, or have offered to take in a refugee,” Starmer told listeners.
When questioned on whether his name was on the list of applicants, the Labour leader replied: “Look, we’d like to play our part. There are practical issues in relation to being leader of the opposition, but I do salute that generosity.”
“You don’t think you’ll be able to because of security reasons?” Ferrari pressed.
“I think it may be difficult but equally we want to play our part,” Sir Keir replied, adding: “Our children are quite young but very struck by all of this. We talk about it in our family quite a lot.”
Under a government initiative, Brits who can offer refuge to a Ukrainian refugee by letting them a rent-free room for a minimum of six months will receive a £350 per month “thank you” from the government.
Individuals arriving under the Homes for Ukraine scheme are able to live and work in the UK for up to three years and access healthcare, benefits, employment support, education and other support, the U.K. government explains.
More than 100,000 Brits have reportedly applied for the scheme so far, however latest reports show that so far only a fraction of that number of refugees have been given permission to come to the U.K.