The first migrants have finally got on board a controversial barge moored off the south coast of England.
After repeated delays, up to 50 men are expected to be housed on the Bibby Stockholm after being moved from the hotels where they had been living.
However, lawyers have mounted legal challenges to prevent some other migrants from being put on the vessel, which has capacity for around 500 people.
The giant vessel had been due to receive its first occupants last week, but that was delayed to allow fire safety checks to be carried out.
According to The Times, a member of staff at the local council had said the barge could become a “floating Grenfell” due to the lack of fire safety protocols.
Meanwhile, campaigners have protested against the barge, while the local Tory-run council has also voiced its concerns about the possible effect on local services.
Richard Drax, the Conservative MP for South Dorset, has described the vessel as a “quasi-prison”.
Home Office minister Sarah Dines today rejected the criticism and said the move was necessary to slash the £6 million a day the government currently spends putting migrants up in hotels.
She said those coming the UK via unofficial routes such as on small boats across the Channel “can’t expect to stay in a four-star hotel”.
The minister told GB News: “It’s very exciting to start getting people out of the hotels onto other places like the Bibby Stockholm.”