James Cleverly Opposes New Immigration Detention Centre In His Own Constituency

The foreign secretary believes it is not an “appropriate” site.
Foreign secretary James Cleverly.
Foreign secretary James Cleverly.
MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images

James Cleverly has opposed a new immigration detention centre in his Essex constituency

The foreign secretary wrote on Facebook that a former RAF base in Braintree would not be suitable for 1,500 male asylum seekers.

Cleverly said he spoke to the immigration minister about it and told him that due to its “remote nature” it was not an “appropriate” site.

The area has been shortlisted by the Home Office as potential accommodation.

Cleverly wrote: “I highlighted the remote nature of the site, the limited transport infrastructure and narrow road network and that these factors would mean the site wasn’t appropriate for asylum accommodation.”

The cabinet minister defended his stance on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Friday, saying: “MDP Wethersfield in my constituency…is...very remote from any other kind of social infrastructure.

“We are going to be looking at a range of places and, as you say, I put my thoughts forward.

“Ultimately no decision has been made and I will continue to support the work of my good friends in the Home Office to make sure we get a grip of the situation.”

It came in the same week Rishi Sunak launched an immigration blitz, promising to “stop the boats”.

His home secretary Suella Braverman unveiled new legislation, aimed at stopping migrants from crossing the Channel to the UK.

Braverman said the new legislation will remove asylum seekers and ban them from re-entry if they arrive through unauthorised means. However, questions remain over its legality.

The bill allows the detention of illegal arrivals without bail or judicial review within the first 28 days of detention, until they can be removed.

It would mean the record 45,000 people who made the journey in a small boat from France last year would have all been detained under the new law.

Cleverly stressed that not all migrants would need to be detained at the same time, telling the BBC: “It’s not that the whole cohort will need to be detained indefinitely whilst we’re going through that.

“That’s why I made the point that the numbers we’re talking about just don’t stack up.”


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