A newly appointed minister for refugees has taken his seat in the House of Lords.

Richard Harrington, who stood down as Watford's MP at the 2019 general election, was made a life peer enabling him to take up the Government job.

His appointment comes amid the humanitarian crisis sparked by the Ukraine war, which has led millions to flee.

More than 100,000 people and organisations have now signed up to provide a home for Ukrainian refugees under a scheme launched by the Government, following criticism of its response to the civilian exodus.

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Lord Harrington of Watford wore the traditional scarlet robes for the short introduction ceremony in the upper chamber, where he swore the oath of allegiance to the Queen.

The 64-year-old was flanked by supporters Tory peer Lord Leigh of Hurley and Labour’s Lord Mendelsohn.

In the Commons, he served as a minister in a number of Government departments including the Home Office.

Watford Observer: Richard Harrington stepped down as MP in Watford in 2019Richard Harrington stepped down as MP in Watford in 2019

During an interview with LBC this moning (March 16), Lord Harrington said the Government's visa process for Ukrainians fleeing the warzone is "far too complicated" - but said changes have been made since his appointment.

He told LBC: "Since I arrived three days ago in the job we have revolutionised the visa process.

"From today there will be a new system where people with a Ukrainian passport will be able to fill in, a form that is by the way far too complicated, in a few days time that will be a lot simpler.

"They download their passport, they then get a response back from the home office - we've got teams of people working on it - I hope within 24 hours, it may be sooner, which gives them the right to travel.

"This is not a complicated visa process now."

Lord Harrington pledged to ensure Ukrainian's won't have to wait outside visa centres in "unacceptable queues" and said the Government is increasing the number of its staff in visa centres to help process those who have fled the country without their passport.