Patel defends Afghan resettlement scheme and hints it could be expanded

Home Secretary Priti Patel has defended plans for a scheme to resettle vulnerable Afghans fleeing the Taliban.

The Government has been accused of not moving quickly enough after it said it would take up to 20,000 refugees with as many as 5,000 in the first year.

Ms Patel told Sky News: “We have to ensure we have the support structures throughout the United Kingdom. We will be working with local councils throughout the country, the devolved governments as well.

“We are working quickly on this. We cannot accommodate 20,000 people all in one go.

“Currently we are bringing back almost 1,000 people a day. This is an enormous effort. We can’t do this on our own. We have to work together.”

But she hinted the scheme could be expanded to admit double the initial figure for the first year.

“There could be up to 10,000. We are expanding categories of people,” she said.

Speaking to BBC News, she added: “We could end up bringing many more but first of all we have to have the underpinning and the infrastructure and the support to do that.”

She also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it will “take time” to get the scheme up and running, which will “not be straightforward”.