Vladimir Putin’s acts of aggression continue, and since the start of his war, I have been frequently asked about our efforts to house Ukrainian refugees. As a Home Office minister, I wanted to update you.

Setting up a system to bring in tens of thousands of people fleeing from war was always going to be a huge and complex task. I share the frustrations of many with the delays and slow progress in the initial stages, however as I write this, we are beginning to motor through the applications while making sure we conduct the appropriate checks. We are now working to the deadline of welcoming thousands of Ukrainians a week and processing their visas within 48 hours. My parliamentary team have been doing sterling work, often late in the evening, helping dozens of Ukrainians who have been offered refuge by constituents here in North West Hampshire.

Across the country some 200,000 people have now expressed an interest in opening their doors under our ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, and we have just introduced a 50 per cent council tax discount for hosts who offer second or empty homes to those fleeing the war.

Alongside this, we are also stepping up our support in Ukraine. You may have seen that the Prime Minister recently visited Kyiv, and he set out new military and economic assistance including armoured vehicles and anti-ship missile systems. And we’re further tightening sanctions on Putin and his cronies. In the approach to the Easter break, we began the process to bring about laws which will frustrate Russia’s ability to develop its oil industry, so it cannot generate the revenue to finance its military action.

I’m proud that we are leading the international response to this war. We may have left the European Union, but we have once again shown that we are an open and generous country, willing to work closely with our allies across the globe in the cause of freedom for Ukraine.