MP calls for charter flights to bring Brits home
The Government has been urged to charter planes to bring home Black Country families who are stranded abroad.
Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden says he has been inundated with calls from constituents who have relatives stuck in the Punjab region of India due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Like hundreds of thousands of other Brits stranded abroad, they are unable to return home due to the cancellation of flights to the UK.
In a letter to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Labour MP Mr McFadden said: "The problem for my constituents is that right now there are no commercial flights available back to the UK.
"Some of the people stranded there are elderly, or reliant on limited supplies of medication, or both.
"They do not have the infrastructure to stay there for weeks or months on end.
"It is no good asking people to book alternative flights when there are no alternative commercial flights available.
"In the absence of commercial transport, the question my constituents are understandably asking is why the Government cannot charter planes to get people home?
"I appreciate this is a big logistical exercise but many airlines have many grounded planes right now and there are people desperate to travel.
"Rescue flights have already been organised for some parts of the world. Why not for India too?
"This situation is becoming more desperate by the day."
A number of other Black Country MPs have called for urgent action to bring people back to the UK from India and Pakistan, including Wolverhampton South West MP Stuart Anderson and Warley MP John Spellar.
During PMQs on Wednesday Mr Spellar urged Boris Johnson to "get the airlifts started", saying that the Ministry of Defence have "unparalleled experience in chartering planes and organising flights", but need the explicit instruction of the PM.
He also said "tens of thousands" of Brits were stranded abroad while "thousands of planes and pilots are sitting idle".