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Sunak defends ‘morally unacceptable’ plans to house migrants on barge

13 May 2023 3 minute read
Photo issued by Bibby Marine Ltd of the Bibby Stockholm accommodation barge

Rishi Sunak has rejected criticism of his government’s plan to tackle small boat crossings as he indicated ministers would use as many barges “as it takes” to resolve the issue.

The UK Government’s Illegal Migration Bill came under attack during the week, after the Archbishop of Canterbury weighed in to label ministers’ plans “morally unacceptable and politically impractical”.

The Prime Minister, in an interview with the Mail on Sunday only days after a difficult set of local elections, defended his “stop the boats” strategy as well as plans to house migrants on barges.

The Bibby Stockholm barge arrived in Falmouth, Cornwall, earlier this week, where it will undergo an assessment and refurbishment.

The vessel, which will house around 500 migrants, is then expected to be moved into position at Portland Port in Dorset in the next few weeks.

Mr Sunak, speaking to the newspaper, said: “Barges are a solution… and we will do as many as it takes.”

Asked about Justin Welby’s remarks in the Lords, he said: “I respectfully disagree with the Archbishop on this and I’ve spoken about it a lot.

“The number of illegal crossings last year was 45,000. That number has gone up four or five times in just a couple of years and it can’t carry on like this.”

“I don’t think it’s right that the British taxpayers are forking out £5.5 million a day to house illegal asylum seekers, that hotels in their communities are being taken over for this use. So barges are a solution to that and we will do as many as it takes.”

Committee

The Prime Minister said that he had put in place a new committee structure, modelled on the Covid-19 pandemic response in government, to tackle the issue.

“We want to deliver that Bill and what I can tell you is that I’m not waiting for that moment to happen. We are getting ready now.

“So, we have put in place a new government committee structure, a bit like how we ran things during the pandemic, where I chair meetings twice a week so that we can get everything ready so that from the moment we have the green light we can crack on and deliver it.”

In the same interview, the Prime Minister responded to the concerns of Tory Brexiteers, who have been angered by the ditching of the Government’s promise to complete a post-Brexit “bonfire” of remaining EU-era laws by the end of the year.

Some of those concerns were raised at the Conservative Democratic Organisation conference in Bournemouth over the weekend, with a backlash to the decision from pro-Brexit Conservative MPs in Westminster.

“I voted for Brexit, I campaigned for Brexit, I believe in Brexit and when I was Chancellor I started to deliver some benefits of Brexit,” he told the paper.

“What I can tell you is what I delivered as Chancellor was quite significant. I am someone who doesn’t just talk about things, I’m someone who delivers things.”


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Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
9 months ago

“I’m someone who delivers things.” – Yes further poverty for all of us. Cruel party.

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve A Duggan

Increased wealth for the very small minority extracted with the active support of government from the meagre resources of the vast majority.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

His personally stated for all the world to see mission statement…

Someone on here hailed the mobile phone camera for exposing persons the other day…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago

All aboard the S.S.Sunak… Having piled S.S. United Kingdom on the rocks, another Tory Captain Pugwash has the wheel of a most unseaworthy vessel*. His trusty mate ‘the Crusher*’ Cruella stalks the deck wearing seaboots and a cat-o-nine-tails in her claw, ready to encourage her rows of slaves to rot…This sadistic lunacy in our name ! Picture: Southampton going down with Sunak on the bridge…(fair play, he did stay until the end)… *Crusher: ship’s bobby *(Point of order: the Thames dumb barges used during the D-Day landings make a remarkable ‘they also served’ story…) ‘Those Wallowing Beauties’ by Bill Jarman…… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

MM, one “e” in Bob Seger, not to be confused with Pete of a similar surname. You are a mine of worthy info nevertheless. I like your script about the seaworthiness of Sunak et al. My take on it is that our coast will be littered with big barges full of johnny and jane foreigners secured only with Tory Wanchors which isn’t very secure at all.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

oops! diolch hd

Several years ago 52% of the ‘people’ opened Pandora’s Box and the worst people to ever enter politics crawled out…

…and to use a tenuous link (not the ‘super cargo’ rather the ‘admiral’) to link a favourite series of books of mine ‘The Night of the Crabs’ by Guy N. Smith being the first and set off Fairbourne and RAE Llanbedr…

Cult Fiction at its best…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

This is perhaps what Rishi meant by Shanghai on Thames…

Chelsea Reach of tomorrow, the place was full of converted landing craft, MTB’s and Dumb Barges with the odd Dutch Barge when I lived round there. Folks after the war needing a deckhead converted anything short of a bathtub…

All rope tricks and illusionists, the devil’s little helpers of…

@Slash, Burn and Plunder(UK) ltd

Karl
Karl
9 months ago

None of them are illegal without a court case, these lies need correcting. It has turned the UK into a hateful place and set awfully low standards on charity and humility.

Gareth
Gareth
9 months ago
Reply to  Karl

Do these standards not reflect the government, and in this case the Tory party.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
9 months ago

This conference is hilariously bonkers. The idiots want to rip up EU standards which allow our goods to be exported. Not just to the EU but globally.

The “new trade deals” all have clauses mandating the maintenance of standards which the Tories want to scrap. UK manufacturers have decided to ignore the new UKCA standards and stick to CE marks which are even on your Chinese laptop and Turkish TV.

Sometimes I think we ought to just ignore them and all their law-making, they regard laws they themselves pass as if they are optional. What if we all did?

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Quite right. Most of those laws passed over last decade or more and certainly the post 2016 batch are aimed at us the common herd but don’t apply to people well in with government and selected elitist cliques.

Vyvyan
Vyvyan
9 months ago

Defending the indefensible.

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