Suella Braverman has 'a lot to answer for' over conditions at Manston migrant centre

Migrant dragged out of view after shouting for help at Manston processing centre
A migrant is dragged out of view after shouting for help at Manston processing centre. Credit: PA

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has "a lot to answer" for over conditions in the Manston immigration processing centre, an SNP MP has said after a visit to the site.

Anum Qaisar, the SNP MP for Airdrie and Shotts, said she saw "young children in tents" during a visit by a group of MPs from three parliamentary committees after concerns were raised about overcrowding.

The site is now back to a safe occupancy level of 1,600 people after reaching a high of 4,000 last week but question marks over conditions remain.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman, middle, is under growing pressure over the migrant crisis Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

People are meant to stay at the short-term holding facility, which opened in January, for 24 hours while they undergo checks before being moved into immigration detention centres or asylum accommodation – currently hotels.

The Refugee Council called for “urgent” action after an immigration watchdog was left “speechless” by conditions at the Manston migrant processing centre in Kent last month.

Speaking after an "interesting" visit to the site today, Labour peer Lord Dubs said the facility is not designed for people to stay in long term and there needed to be better provision for migrants to move on to more appropriate accommodation.

"The place is not geared up for people to stay that long" - Lord Dubs says the government's immigration policy is wrong

"I think the staff there are doing as good a job as they can in very difficult circumstances," he said.

"But the whole policy is wrong. People should be there for 24 hours and then moved on. Some of them are there for weeks and weeks and the place is not geared up for people to stay that long." He continued: "As long as people are obliged to stay for longer than 24 hours because there's no move-on arranged, there's going to be a problem.

Members of the Home Affairs Select Committee are driven away following a visit to the Manston immigration short-term holding facility. Credit: PA

Ms Qaisar, SNP MP for Airdrie and Shotts who sits on the Commons Women and Equalities Committee, told reporters afterwards: “I saw young children in tents, and the reality is that the Home Secretary has a lot to answer for.”

When asked if she believed the conditions at Manston had improved, she added: “I don’t trust the Tory government.”

Shortly after the delegation, which included Members of the Commons Home Affairs Committee and the Joint Committee on Human Rights, left, a man who shouted “help” and claimed he had been at the site for 30 days was seen being pinned up against a fence.

He was then seen being dragged away by security guards when he tried to speak to members of the press.

A PA news agency photographer was taking pictures at the Kent site when a man inside started shouting “help” repeatedly and waving towards the cameras.

He claimed he had been at the site for 30 days when staff members asked him to stop shouting.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

The man dressed in black was taken out of view Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick told the Commons on Monday that there had been a “significant reduction” in the number of people at the site and this was now “back below” its maximum capacity of 1,600 after more than 2,300 migrants were moved to other accommodation.

Almost 40,000 migrants have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel so far this year. As yet there have been no crossings in November as bad weather continues, leaving the provisional total for 2022 to date still standing at 39,913.Downing Street declined to comment on Tuesday on any details that could be contained in a UK-France deal on illegal Channel crossings.

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