Priti Patel Takes On Suella Braverman Over Essex Migrant Camp Plan

The Home Office is also facing legal action over a £20,000-a-day migrant "barge".
Priti Patel and Suella Braverman
Priti Patel and Suella Braverman

Former home secretary Priti Patel is challenging her successor’s plans to turn an RAF base into a migrant camp.

Patel is helping her local council in Essex in its efforts to stop a military base in Wethersfield from being turned into a major migrant centre.

She has written to home secretary Suella Braverman in support of Braintree council’s high court application, according to The Telegraph.

Patel raised concerns about the lack of information provided to the council, how asylum seekers will be managed and the length of time it will be used, according to the paper.

Foreign secretary James Cleverly has publicly said the site, which is in his constituency, is not appropriate. Patel represents the neighbouring Essex constituency of Witham.

Braintree council wants an injunction to challenge the plans to house up to 1,700 asylum seekers at the former airfield.

The council argues that the site is unsuitable because of the lack of local services, the impact on the small local village and limited transport infrastructure.

The project is part of Braverman’s attempts to end the use of asylum hotels at a cost of more than £6 million a day.

Other sites identified include the former Dambusters base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire and a barge in Dorset.

Braverman is facing fierce opposition to her plans to dock 500 migrants on the barge in Portland Harbour.

It is expected to cost more than £20,000 per day and is expected be challenged in the courts over the impact on local tourism.

Braverman is expected to announce that a deal has been struck to accommodate up to 506 migrants in a three-storey barge called the Bibby Stockholm.

However, David Sidwick, Dorset’s police and crime commissioner, said he had expressed “serious concerns” about the resource implications of policing an asylum barge.

Richard Drax, the Tory MP for South Dorset, said: “We are looking at all legal routes. We will look at any way we can stop this. Every angle is being looked at.”


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