BURNLEY MP Antony Higginbotham has urged foreign secretary Dominic Raab to step up efforts to get several of his constituents and other UK nationals stuck abroad because of the coronavirus outbreak home.

The Conservative backbencher raised the issue in the House of Commons as the cabinet minister answered questions in the problems faced by those stranded overseas by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Higginbotham told Mr Raab: "I put on record my thanks to Foreign Office staff in the UK and around the world who are doing an incredible job in very difficult circumstances.

"I am reassured by what you have said about the conversations you and your team are having with other foreign ministers around the world. Is there more we can do not only through the G7, but the G20, which has a number of key transit hubs within its membership?"

Mr Raab replied: "We have a G20 leaders meeting, which will be virtual and remote, coming up. It is critically important that we make sure we work not only with the G7, the G20 and within the EU, but with all international forums, not least because of the broader range of countries involved and the ability as a result to secure routes back via hub routes and, in particular, transit routes. I have mentioned Singapore, but there are many others we can talk about, particularly in the Gulf."

Mr Higginbotham said afterwards: "I have several constituents stuck abroad during the Coronavirus crisis.

"This is an incredibly stressful situation for UK nationals who want to return home but our diplomats are navigating significant local challenges, including restrictions on movements, to do whatever is necessary to secure a route back.”