'So How Much Is It?': Robert Jenrick Roasted For Refusing To Reveal Migrant Barge Costs

The immigration minister said Labour's figures were wrong - but failed to come up with his own.
Asylum seekers arrive at the Bibby Stockholm at Portland Port, on October 20.
Asylum seekers arrive at the Bibby Stockholm at Portland Port, on October 20.
Finnbarr Webster via Getty Images

Robert Jenrick faced an excruciating grilling as he was unable to say how much accomodating migrants on the Bibby Stockholm barge will cost the public purse.

The immigration minister was put on the spot by LBC radio host Nick Ferrari after he claimed Labour had got its figures wrong.

Fifty asylum seekers have gone aboard the controversial barge in recent days after it was finally given the all-clear following a legionella scare.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper claimed the vessel is costing taxpayers £800 per person, per night - five times higher than putting them up in hotels.

Jenrick announced yesterday that 50 hotels currently used to house asylum seekers will no longer do so from January.

On LBC this morning, Ferrari asked Jenrick how much the Bibby Stockholm cost the public purse per week.

He replied: “I don’t have the figure for how much it costs.”

However, the minister went on to say that Labour’s figure was “completely wrong” and that Cooper should retract it.

He added: “What I can tell you is it’s cheaper than the hotels and better value for money, and also more appropriate because we don’t want people to be living in hotels.”

Ferrari then asked: “So what is the figure then?”

When Jenrick refused to say, Ferrari said: “So Labour get the headlines saying its costing £800 per person. Well can I put to you, you don’t know what it is per person, do you?”

Bizarrely, Jenrick said he did know the true figure, even though he was unwilling to say what it is.

“With all due respect, these things are published in the normal way through government processes,” he said.

Ferrari told him: “Mr Jenrick, please. That figure is going to resonate with my listeners.”

Asked whether the figure was £200 per night or £100 per night, Jenrick said: “As much as I would like to entertain this, I’m not going to because we publish these things in a normal way.

“I hope that Yvette Cooper will delete her tweet that was wrong.”


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