Tory MP 'Encouraged' Bibby Stockholm Is 'Like A Detention Facility' For Migrants

Host Nicky Campbell seemed mystified by Tom Hunt's response to the migrant barge.
Nicky Campbell from Radio 5 Live interviewed Tory MP Tom Hunt about the migrant barge, Bibby Stockholm
Nicky Campbell from Radio 5 Live interviewed Tory MP Tom Hunt about the migrant barge, Bibby Stockholm

A Tory MP surprised a BBC Radio 5 Live host by saying he was “encouraged” the migrant barge Bibby Stockholm would be “like a detention facility”.

Tom Hunt, the MP for Ipswich since 2019, was interviewed by radio presenter Nicky Campbell about the new, controversial accommodation for people who reach UK shores via supposedly illegal means.

The first 15 migrants boarded the vessel off England’s south coast yesterday – legal challenges around the barge and the living conditions it offers prevented more migrants boarding.

As Care4Calais’ chief executive, Steve Smith, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “To all intent and purposes, this is like a detention facility.”

However, this did not bother Hunt.

As Campbell pivoted the conversation to the Tory MP, Hunt replied: “I’m quite encouraged to hear that it’s like a detention facility, I’d actually like it to be a detention facility.

“The Illegal Migration Bill is what we’re hoping can deliver that.”

Campbell, looking bewildered by that reply, pushed for clarity about just what Hunt meant by that.

The MP explained: “I’ve got concerns about those who actually have the ability to abscond, those who can illegally enter our country disappearing into the community.

“I think they should be detained for a small amount of time and then deported to a safer country which is why, if we get the Rwanda policy delivered, that will be in tandem with the Illegal Migration Bill.”

The government’s attempts to deport supposedly illegal migrants to another country – primarily Rwandawas thwarted on June 29, when the Court of Appeal ruled that it was unlawful.

Downing Street is expected to try and get that decision appealed through the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the Illegal Migration Bill is meant to grant the government the powers to refuse asylum claims from people who arrived via small boats across the Channel, and then remove them from the UK.

Hunt continued: ″If I was genuine, and I was genuinely fleeing persecution for my life, I would be more than happy to be in the Bibby Stockholm – we’ve all seen the pictures, it’s absolutely fine.

″I don’t see what the problem is.”

The barge has reportedly been dubbed a “floating Grenfell” by local council staff, a “quasi-prison” by the Tory MP for South Dorset and a “potential death trap” by the Fire Brigades Union.

Hunt also said: “What we do need is a deterrent, otherwise we’re not going to solve this problem, we’re going to continue to have tens of thousands of people illegally entering our country every year.”

He claimed “we don’t know for sure” that people have faced persecution when they get to the UK shores.

″We know that many of them are not actually refugees, they’re economic migrants,” the Tory MP alleged. “They’re actually compromising our ability and capacity to support the most genuine of refugees.

“The vast majority of British public are fed up of this.”


What's Hot