Grant Shapps reveals ‘family roots’ inspired decision to join Homes for Ukraine scheme

Grant Shapps in Downing Street, London, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson reshuffles his Cabinet to ap

Mr Shapps said he felt he had a 'duty to offer a similar safe haven' after his great grandparents were welcomed to the UK in the 19th century. - Credit: PA

Grant Shapps has revealed that his family roots inspired his decision to take part in the Homes for Ukraine scheme which launched earlier this week.

The Welwyn Hatfield MP said he would be registering for the programme, designed to make it easier for displaced people to enter Britain following Russian’s invasion of Ukraine last month.

In a statement, the transport secretary admitted his ‘family roots’ were behind his decision to sign up to the scheme, with his great grandparents finding safety in the UK in the 19th century.

“Looking at the pictures coming out of Ukraine, it was clear to us as a family, along with thousands of other households in the UK, that we had to help,” he said.

“My wife and kids were fully in agreement that it is the right thing to do.

“My family traces its roots to Eastern Europe and I’m here because this country was generous in allowing my great grandparents to find safety and opportunity here in the 19th century.

“That places upon us the duty to offer a similar safe haven now.”

A family from Ukraine board a train at Przemysl train station in Poland. Picture date: Wednesday Mar

A family from Ukraine board a train at Przemysl train station in Poland. - Credit: PA

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Mr Shapps lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and three children, and he is confident refugees coming to Welwyn Hatfield will be welcomed by residents.

“Fortunately, we have space to accommodate a family, though we’ll have to shake up the household arrangements a wee bit,” he said.

“I very much hope that the people who come to stay in our corner of the constituency will find some respite from the turmoil engulfing their home, and that in the fullness of time they will be able to return to the people and places they love.

“I know they will find a warm and friendly welcome in Welwyn and Hatfield.”

Mr Shapps has so far been the only minister to sign up to the programme, but former health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed he would be allowing refugees to stay in his constituency home in West Suffolk.

“We've spent the past few weeks as a family discussing the devastating situation in Ukraine, and so we intend to apply today to join other UK households in offering our home to provide refuge to Ukrainians until it is safe for them to return to their country,” tweeted the Welwyn Hatfield MP when the scheme launched on Tuesday.