Conditions at the Manston Center have come under heavy criticism.
Downing Street has distanced itself from a Home Office minister who has criticized “cheek” complaints from people arriving in the country “illegally” about conditions at the centre.
No. 10 stressed in a statement that immigrants “deserve to be treated with tenderness and respect.” It comes amid the chaos of overcrowding at Manston Detention Center in Kent, where up to 4,000 people were held for weeks in a site that was supposed to hold 1,600 people for a few days.
Home Secretary Chris Phillip criticized immigrants complaining about conditions in Manston during an interview with Radio Times. He appeared on the radio show earlier today (November 4).
“If people choose to enter a country illegally and unnecessarily, it’s a little trick, you know, to then begin to complain about the circumstances when you enter a country illegally unnecessarily,” Philip said.
The Home Office is facing legal action over “grossly defective conditions” at the Manston Immigrant Processing Center. Lawyers on behalf of Detention Action Charitable for Human Rights, who represent a woman detained at the facility, sent an urgent pre-action letter to Suila Braverman on November 1.
Has Downing Street responded to Mr. Philip’s statement?
When asked if Philip was speaking on behalf of the government, the spokesperson for Rishi Sunak said: “I have not spoken to the Prime Minister about that specifically. It is certainly true that the Borderorce officials in the Ministry of Interior and many others are working hard to provide safe housing. It is safe for those individuals who come via these routes.
“As we have made clear, these individuals deserve to be treated with tenderness and respect. The current approach is clearly not working and is placing enormous pressures – both in terms of government and on the local area – and this presents significant challenges, which is why we continue to work withrench colleagues and more broadly to try and resolve this is the problem “.
How did others react?
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael said Philip’s comments “reveal a shocking and cruel sense of complacency about the disaster at Manston”.
North Thanet Member of Parliament, Sir Roger Gale, told the Palestinian News Agency that he could see where Philp “comes” in relation to the people “fully able to fend for themselves” crossing the Channel into the UK. But in his opinion, he said, it was not a “cheek” to say that “children and women should be treated humanely”.
On Thursday, Cabinet Secretary Graham Stewart acknowledged that Manston is not operating legally and “none of us are comfortable with that,” but sought to blame an “unacceptable increase” in small boat crossings for the problem, adding that “the system is struggling to cope.” .
This followed similar suggestions from Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick earlier in the week. But onriday, Police Minister Mr Philip insisted otherwise, telling Sky News: “I don’t accept the premise that it’s not in line with the law today, so much change has been made even in the last few days since I spoke to Robert.” He added that “significant improvements” had been made.
Numbers drop at the much criticized Manston Center
Downing Street said the number of people in Manston has fallen to 2,600, with 1,200 people removed from the site over the past four days. Sir Roger said the goal is to get the number down to 1,500 by the end of the day, which would bring it below its maximum capacity of 1,600.
The home secretary toured immigration centers on Thursday as she struggled to control the migrant crisis and faced threats of legal action over Manston, allegations of sexual assault at a hotel housing asylum seekers and international criticism for her use of language. Soila Braverman, who was reinstated in her cabinet position just over a week ago, met with Borderorce teams in Dover to discuss canal crossings before visiting the scandal-hit Manston processing center to hear an update from staff but dodged questions from the press.
Gale said Braverman was “very thorough” during her visit to Manston, looking at “everything that had to be looked at” and asking “a lot of questions.” “I hope you now have a proper idea of what this is all about,” he added.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Home Office has taken urgent decisions to alleviate the problems in Manston by using all available legal powers and providing alternative accommodations. The welfare of those in our care is of paramount importance and asylum seekers are released from Manston only when they have assured us that they have A place to go – to indicate otherwise, that is wrong and misleading.”