Labour Would Still House Asylum Seekers On Barges, Says Shadow Minister

Stephen Kinnock said a new Labour government would have no choice but to do so for a "very short" period of time.
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Labour would continue to house asylum seekers on barges for a “very short” period of time, the shadow immigration minister has said.

Stephen Kinnock said he was “deeply unhappy” about it but an incoming Labour government would have no choice but to continue the controversial Conservative policy.

“This is the last thing we would want to be doing because we believe that people who are applying for asylum should be in appropriate accommodation,” he said.

“The reality is that we’ve got tens of thousands of people in hotels, we need to get them out of hotels and we need to get them off the barges and out of the military camps too,” he told Sky News.

“Because of the complete and utter chaos and shambles of the Tory asylum crisis, we are going to have to continue in a very short-term period to use the infrastructure that is there, including the barges and the hotels.”

Kinnock said Labour would be “forced to use these contingency measures” because of “the mess the government has made”.

He added within the first six months of Labour taking power it would be “clearing people out of hotels” and putting them into suitable accommodation or removing them from the country.

The Bibby Stockholm docked at Portland Port in Dorset, will eventually house around 500 asylum seekers who have arrived in the UK.

The first migrants were due to go on board last week, but that has been delayed after fire safety concerns were raised.

Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, this morning said people would be placed on the barge “in the coming days”.

On Thursday Oliver Dowden, the deputy prime minister, said he was “absolutely certain” people would be housed on the barge “in the coming weeks”.


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