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Ukraine war: Kent MP Sir Roger Gale defends calls for Russians to be evicted from UK

A Kent MP has defended his calls for Russian people to be evicted from the UK after being branded a "fascist" and a "Nazi" by critics.

Sir Roger Gale, who represents North Thanet, spoke out again to clarify his stance after he argued that Russian citizens in the UK should be sent home.

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale
North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale

On talkRADIO yesterday, he argued all Russians living in Britain should be returned home in order to "send a very harsh message" to Vladimir Putin.

The Conservative MP said: "My view is that we should send Russia a very clear message and rescind all the visas for Russian citizens currently extant in the UK and send everybody home."

When pressed on whether this would apply to all Russians in the UK, he said: "We can't pick and choose, because what we've got to do I'm afraid is send a very harsh message through the Russian people to Putin."

He added that Russian children in UK private schools should be among those returned in a bid to send a message to oligarchs, adding: "It's harsh, but they should go."

Sir Roger's comments sparked outrage from some quarters.

One talkRADIO listener named Carlos called the station, to brand the MP's remarks "racist" and "xenophobic".

He said: "I wrote to Sir Roger Gale and said with all due respect, you remind me Adolf Hitler.

"The idea of adopting such a xenophobic attitude, of taking an issue with every single individual that might not have any relationship whatsoever with what is happening in eastern Europe...this sort of revenge attitude, of reprisal...I don't think this man should be in the Conservative Party at all.

"I am appalled to hear an elected member of the Conservative party make such a racist, xenophobic statement."

Another commenter online said: "Russian people living here legally being kicked out for something they have not actually done is an appalling idea.You do not punish the innocent for the sins of the guilty."

"What I'm not saying is that anybody with settled status or asylum status, should be returned..."

But speaking to the BBC this morning, Sir Roger defended his stance saying that he would not wish to see certain Russians evicted from the country.

He said: "I have been accused of being fascist, of being a Nazi, of being xenophobic. I'd like to think that you're aware and your listeners are aware that I'm none of those things.

"But the Russian people very bravely are out on the streets of Moscow and other Russian cities demonstrating against Putin.

"It is only the Russian people that are going to, in the end, bring Putin down.

"What I'm not saying – I've been misrepresented – is that anybody with settled status, anybody who's for example married to a United Kingdom citizen, or anybody with asylum status, should be returned – that would be absurd."

Pressed on whether evicting boarding school pupils from the UK would effectively impact Russia's invasion of Ukraine, he said: "The other group of people, [other] than the Russian people, that Putin listens to are the oligarchs who are his paymasters.

"Those oligarchs have children in British public schools.

"It may sound harsh and it probably is harsh...but if we want to send that message – if the oligarchs need to squeal or be made to squeal – then the way that you will do that is by taking away their privileges, and I'm afraid that is where the children come into it."

On the topic of accepting Ukrainian asylum seekers, Sir Roger added: "I believe that the UK has to step up to the plate and do everything we possibly can, with the minimum amount of bureaucracy, to accept our fair share of refugees from Ukraine...without fear or favour and with open arms."

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