New Asylum Centre On Hold After Ben Wallace "Withdraws" Former RAF Base Offer
RAF base in Linton-on-Ouse (Alamy)
Controversial plans for a new asylum centre in North Yorkshire appear to have been scrapped after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the offer of a former RAF base for the site has been “withdrawn”.
Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton Kevin Hollinrake, told PoliticsHome he is “over the moon” that the former RAF base in Linton-on-Ouse was no longer being proposed as accommodation for as many as 1,500 asylum seekers.
Leadership candidate Rishi Sunak said yesterday that he would scrap the plans if he became Prime Minister. Wallace, however, said he had “obligations to do something else” with the site.
“Because he’s not in government he won’t know what’s been going on and I’ve withdrawn the offer to the Home Office for that site," Wallace told broadcasters on Tuesday when asked about Sunak’s comments.
"It’s been with them for a number of months.
“I have obligations to do something else with that site and there are other sites that have been made available to the Home Office if they wish to take it up.”
He reiterated: “I have withdrawn the offer of that site to the Home Office, it was I think one of five sites we offered at the time when Rishi Sunak was in government and he was certainly supportive of it at the time.”
The plans for RAF Linton-On-Ouse had been opposed by Hollinrake. “That’s an end to the matter really, which I’m absolutely over the moon about,” he told PoliticsHome.
“You cannot overstate the amount of anxiety and fear that there was in that community, so to have this massive burden lifted off their shoulders today must be an immense relief.”
The news comes ahead of Sunak and fellow leadership candidate Liz Truss speaking at a leadership hustings in Darlington this evening.
A government spokesperson said: “The government is steadfastly committed to tackling illegal migration and stopping dangerous small boat crossings.
“The government will continue to identify appropriate sites for Greek-style asylum reception centres which will play a key role in reducing the number of asylum seekers in hotels which cost the taxpayer more than £5 million each day.”
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