Coronavirus: Former MP Eastbourne member still stranded in New Zealand | Instant News


A lawmaker who was stranded in New Zealand was furious because the government would not fly thousands of Britons like him.

Stephen Lloyd, who served as Eastbourne MP for seven years, has been trapped in the city of Christchurch for weeks.

He said flights to London were expensive and rare and called on the Government to help stranded Britons.

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“The British government may think they have sorted this out but they don’t,” he told ITV Meridian.

“There are still thousands of Britons like me in New Zealand.

“The challenge is that there are still very, very few flights from Auckland to London and some of them reach £ 10,000.

“I don’t understand why the Government won’t do repatriation flights from New Zealand but they do it in other parts of the world.”

The New Zealand government has relaxed travel restrictions to allow Britons to travel domestically to get flights home.

But those who want to go home are not allowed to take more than one day to travel to the airport of their choice in New Zealand, something that according to Mr Lloyd is almost impossible because of the small number of flights to London.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office acknowledged on Twitter that flight costs were a “real problem”.

This will only provide emergency loans “in very extraordinary circumstances as a last resort” for those who cannot afford to buy a return flight and cannot get money from friends, family or a charity.

But they said they had no plans for repatriation flights because the government focused on countries where the British were “most vulnerable”.

“We know that the cost of commercial flights is a real problem,” a spokesman said.

“We are working to improve conditions and competition and lower prices, and encourage airlines to keep routes affordable and issue refunds for flights canceled instead of credit.

“At present there are no plans to provide charter repatriation flights from New Zealand.

“The focus is on countries where there are no commercial options available, and where British citizens are most vulnerable.”

  • The Coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been formed to help those affected by the pandemic. Amal Argus and American Express have each donated £ 50,000 to start the appeal. Grants will usually be up to £ 5,000. Further information is available at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply. To donate, visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund



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