Refugees Minister announces he is quitting role

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Refugees Minister announces he is quitting role

Jewish peer Lord Harrington confirms he is standing down from the role - handed to him by Boris Johnson in March to help ease Ukrainian refugee crisis - just one day before next Tory leader announced

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Lord Harrington speaking to Times Radio to confirm he is quitting refugee minister role
Lord Harrington speaking to Times Radio to confirm he is quitting refugee minister role

Lord Richard Harrington has announced that he is standing down as Minister for Refugees just one day before a new leader of the Conservative Party is announced.

But the peer, who is Jewish, stressed his resignation is no reflection on either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak and he instead feels it is the right time to leave a “temporary” position.

The former Watford MP, who has remained an influential figure in the Conservative Friends of Israel group told Times Radio on Sunday:“I was brought in to do a very specific job, which was to set up working machinery across Government to deal with helping the Ukrainians in need.

“I believe we now have a process and procedure in place that means there won’t necessarily be the need for a minister like myself.

“I’m not walking out on the role or either candidate and will continue to support where helpful. But what I was specifically asked to do is essentially complete so it seems right that I make clear to both leadership contenders that they may be able to save on a ministerial post when they take over.”

Last month Harrington had called for payments to those hosting Ukrainian refugees in theUK to be doubled, to take into account soaring household costs.

He said he feared around a quarter of the 25,000 households hosting refugees would pull out after six months due to the cost of living crisis – meaning new homes will have to be found for those who fled Ukraine for the UK.

“I’ve asked the Treasury for the second six months to increase the thank you payment from £350 to £700,” he confirmed.

On Sunday Harrington thanked former Prime Minister Boris Johnson for appointing him to the post in March, and he said his decision to quit means the next prime minister can “save” on a ministerial position.

In an interview with Jewish News in June he said of his role helping refugees: “I believe, for all of us Jewish people, it is like our destiny …We were once there.”

Harrington had also heaped praised on former PM David Cameron as someone he felt politically aligned with.

The Leeds-born peer said he had spoken to both Number 10 and Tory leadership candidates Ms Truss and Mr Sunak before publicly confirming his decision.

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