'You’re Being A Nimby': James Cleverly Grilled On Opposition To Asylum Centre

"No-one would want a facility like that in their constituency," the foreign secretary said
Kay Burley and James Cleverly
Kay Burley and James Cleverly
Sky News

James Cleverly was accused of being a “nimby” today after he opposed a new immigration detention centre in his Essex constituency.

Sky News presenter Kay Burley suggested the foreign secretary was a nimby over his resistance to a planned migrant camp for 1,700 male asylum seekers in Braintree.

Nimby stands for “not in my back yard” and refers to a person who does not want something unpleasant to be built near where they live.

Cleverly’s local council recently failed to secure a High Court injunction to block the government plans to use the redundant RAF Wethersfield airfield.

The senior Tory claimed that “no-one” would want such a facility in their constituency and stressed the government’s controversial Illegal Migration Bill would speed up the processes so large detention centres would not be needed in future.

He told Sky News “Of course, no-one would want a facility like that in their constituency…”

Burley interrupted: “You’re being a bit of a nimby about it, aren’t you?”

Cleverly went on: “But the point I’m saying is that the legislation we are putting through is to reduce the need for facilities like that.”

Burley pressed him: “OK you’ve told me that, foreign secretary, why do you not want them in your back yard?”

Cleverly added: “I have concerns about the remoteness of the site and the road network around that.

“The bottom line is if the decision is made that that is where this site needs to be – and it’s not a decision for me to make exclusively – but if that is the decision that’s made, I want to make sure it works effectively, properly and our wider immigration system is fit for purpose.”

Former home secretary Priti Patel has also challenged the plans to turn the RAF base into a migrant camp.

She wrote to her successor Suella Braverman in support of Braintree council’s high court application, according to The Telegraph.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD)-owned land was one of the sites identified when immigration minister Robert Jenrick unveiled plans to house asylum seekers in disused military bases to reduce reliance on hotels.

The council lost its bid to secure a High Court injunction to block the plans after the judge concluded the court did not have the legal power to grant their application, and therefore ruled in favour of the government.


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