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House of Commons Hansard
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Covid-19: Repatriation of British Nationals
18 May 2020
Volume 676
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What steps his Department has taken with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to repatriate British nationals stranded overseas as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. [902641]

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What steps his Department has taken with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to repatriate British nationals stranded overseas as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. [902644]

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We estimate that more than 1.3 million people have returned to the UK via commercial routes, the majority through our work to keep the vital routes open.

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It is hugely welcome that 1.3 million people have been brought home by commercial airlines. Will my right hon. Friend assure me that he continues to work with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to ensure that support and guidance is available for those people who are struggling—there are many of them—to find commercial routes home?

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Yes, I can absolutely provide my hon. Friend with that reassurance. The UK has close links with Nigeria and elsewhere, and I am pleased that we have been able to support charter flights, thereby enabling around 1,700 British travellers to return home since 18 April.

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I thank my right hon. Friend for helping, with other Departments, to bring so many of my constituents home safely. Can he tell me, in my role as the Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Nigeria, what the situation is there with regard to the availability of aircraft? How many more repatriation trips are we looking to make?

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My hon. Friend’s great work as a trade envoy is known throughout the House. Some commercial routes are still available, we are keeping the international travel advice under constant review, and we are still, on a daily basis, organising charter flights to bring the remaining overseas British nationals home. I think there are around 20,000 still to repatriate.