Grant Shapps will host Ukrainian refugee family including grandmother, 75, boy, 6, and their dog

Transport secretary said he would learn some Ukrainian to make the refugee family welcome in his home

<p>Grant Shapps was able to use a room in house — 20 miles from London — due to his son currently being away at university. </p>

Grant Shapps was able to use a room in house — 20 miles from London — due to his son currently being away at university.

Cabinet minister Grant Shapps is set to host a refugee family of three fleeing the war in Ukraine.

The transport secretary said earlier this month he was registering his interest in the Homes for Ukraine scheme — set up amid criticism of the government’s existing refugee policy — which allows those with no family ties to come to the UK.

Those offering sanctuary to families fleeing Russia’s brutal invasion must be able to offer accommodation for at least six months, and according to the latest government statistics over 150,000 people have registered their interest.

Following discussions with his family, Mr Shapps told The Times he will soon be hosting a six-year-old boy, his mother and 75-year-old grandmother, alongside their dog, Max.

The cabinet minister said he was able to use a room in house — 20 miles from London — due to his son currently being away at university and said he was in daily contact with the Ukrainian family. He lives n Hertfordshire with his wife Belinda and they have three children.

“These people are literally fleeing their lives, they don’t know if their home will be there when they get back,” he said.

“Their family is having to split up. Every time we get into a family conversation about it that’s literally where the conversation ends.”

A woman holds a baby as Ukrainian citizens arrive at the Medyka pedestrian border crossing to Poland

The minister also told The Times he expected to pick up some Ukrainian as he spends time with the family — “enough to make them welcome” — and said he will help enroll the six-year-old at the local primary school.

Mr Shapps was the first minister to commit to welcoming Ukrainian refugees into his home, writing on Twitter: “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.”

Health secretary Sajid Javid said that he was “starting to have a conversation” with his wife but said he would find it hard to “offer the time that I think a host would reasonable [be] expected to have available”.

Levelling-up minister Michael Gove said he was “exploring what I can do” while Rishi Sunak said he and his wife planned to help ‘in other ways’.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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