Minister Insists Manston Migration Centre Is Now "Legally Compliant" After Government Action
Chris Philp insisted the Manston site was now legally compliant (Alamy)
Policing Minister Chris Philp has claimed the Manston migration centre is "legally compliant", after a judicial review was launched over conditions.
Philp said "significant improvements" had been made at the site in Kent after court action was launched to investigate reports of overcrowding and outbreaks of disease.
A peak of nearly 4,000 people were being kept at the site, which is designed to hold just 1,600 people, following a major increase in the number of people crossing the Channel in small boats.
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick suggested earlier this week that the site was not legally compliant because thousands of migrants were being held at Manston for longer than the mandated 24-hour period.
But speaking to Sky News on Friday, Philp suggested the situation had improved significantly, saying: "I don't accept the premise that it's not legally compliant today. A lot of changes have been made even in the last few days."
Ministers have been scrambling to find alternative accomodation for arrivals, with the Home Office block booting hotel rooms around the country to house people in while their asylum applications are processed.
But Philp said those making "illegal and unneccesary" journeys to the United Kingdom had a "bit of a cheek" to complain about the conditions at the camp where there have been outbreaks of diseases such as diptheria, MRSA and scabies.
"If people choose to enter a country illegally and unnecessarily, it is a bit of a cheek to then start complaining about the conditions when you've illegally entered the country without necessity," he told Times Radio.
"They didn't have to come here. They were in France already and previously often passed through Belgium, Germany, and many other countries this way."
He added: "So, we're doing our best but the numbers are just overwhelming and that's why we need to do some more work with the French government to stop these crossings."
Philp also claimed that new arrivals were "mostly single young men" as he defended the government response to the increase.
"That’s why urgent improvements are being made and I know Robert Jenrick the immigration minister has been down there, I think at least once, possibly twice, this week, and significant improvements are being made," he said.
“A lot of people have been moved out, the numbers in that Manston facility have reduced dramatically in the course of the last week or so.”
His comments come after Home Secretary Suella Braverman faced a backlash over her description of the surge in migrant crossings as an "invasion on the south coast" just hours after a firebombing attack on a migrant centre in Dover which is now being investigated by counter-terror police.
Speaking to PoliticsHome podcast, The Rundown, Conservative MP Tim Loughton, who sits on the Commons Home Affairs Committee said there was a "real risk" that inflammatory language could lead to further vigilante attacks.
"The last thing we need is for people taking the law into their own hands, which is why people have got to see that this is being dealt with, that there are solutions and we're not throwing more and more taxpayers money at hotel accommodation, when we've all got loads of constituents who have been on housing waiting lists for ages and are getting more and more neglected," he said.
"That's the fear, that it will whip up that resentment."
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