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Tory MP issues legal threat over plan to house migrants on barge

03 Apr 2023 3 minute read
Home Secretary Suella Braverman. Photo Lindsey Parnaby PA Images

Home Secretary Suella Braverman could face a legal challenge over her plan to house migrants on a floating accommodation barge.

Tory-run Dorset Council is opposed to the use of Portland Port as the site, and local Conservative MP Richard Drax said “we will look at any way we can stop this”.

The Bibby Stockholm vessel, which will reportedly cost taxpayers more than £20,000 a day, could accommodate more than 500 migrants.

Portland Port confirmed it had been selected by the Home Office as a site for a migrant barge, but Dorset Council said it has “serious concerns about the suitability of the location for this facility”.

Details of any agreement with Liverpool-based Bibby Marine Limited and the costs were unclear, but the 93-metre long vessel can house up to 506 people in its 222 bedrooms.

The Times reported the vessel would cost £15,000 a day to charter, with the cost of berthing it in Portland upwards of £4,500 a day, and additional expenditure required on services including security and catering.

South Dorset MP Mr Drax told the newspaper: “We are looking at all legal routes. We will look at any way we can stop this.

“Every angle is being looked at.”

Portland Port said details of the scheme were still being finalised.

The port’s chief executive, Bill Reeves, said: “Portland Port has been selected by the Home Office to provide space for an accommodation facility.

“We are currently liaising with the Home Office about the next steps.”

Bibby Marine describes the vessel as offering “luxury living” with a gym, bar, restaurant and games room.

But immigration minister Robert Jenrick has said that migrants will be housed in “rudimentary” accommodation rather than hotels while asylum claims are processed, meeting “their essential living needs and nothing more”.

Refurbished

According to reports, the three-storey barge has been refurbished since it was described as an “oppressive environment” when the Dutch government used it to house asylum seekers.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “The pressure on the asylum system has continued to grow and requires us to look at a range of accommodation options which offer better value for money for taxpayers than hotels.”

Plans for other sites to house migrants under the Government’s new policy to curb the use of taxpayer-funded hotels could also end up in the courts.

Conservative-run local authorities have threatened legal action against the Home Office over the proposal to use RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire and RAF Wethersfield in Essex to house thousands of migrants.

The Home Office says new types of accommodation must be used to reduce a £6 million daily bill for using hotels.

Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council charity, has described the use of military bases and boats as “wholly inadequate places” to house people who have fled war and persecution.


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John
John
10 months ago

The Tories are eating each other like spiders in a jar!

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 months ago

If ever a politician could be said to sail close to the wind and yet be so popular. Corporate lawyer in Moscow to Property Developer’s failed guardian angel with the welfare of refugees as his brief…Wiki’s good reads…What’s that, he must take after Fat Shanks…

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