Portland mayor loses High Court fight with government over Bibby Stockholm barge

Carralyn Parkes said she was left 'deeply concerned' about use of Bibby Stockholm to house asylum seekers. Credit: PA

The mayor of Portland has lost a High Court fight with Home Secretary Suella Braverman over the housing of asylum seekers on a barge.

Carralyn Parkes wanted to challenge the lawfulness of the use of the Bibby Stockholm in Portland Harbour, Dorset.

A judge ruled on Wednesday that Mrs Parkes, a member of Portland Town Council and the mayor of Portland, did not have an arguable case.

The barge was evacuated in August following the discovery of Legionella bacteria in the water supply.

However, the Home Office said all necessary tests have now been completed on the barge.

Asylum seekers are being told they will be returned to the vessel next week.

Dorset residents and supporters of Carralyn Parkes gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Credit: PA

Mr Justice Holgate had considered arguments at a High Court hearing in London on Tuesday 10 October.

Mrs Parkes said she is “deeply concerned” by the Government’s “planned accommodation” on the Bibby Stockholm and had made challenges relating to planning and equality legislation.

Lawyers representing Mrs Braverman said Mrs Parkes’s claims should be dismissed.

Protesters described the barge as ‘like a prison’ Credit: James Manning/PA

Mrs Parkes argued housing asylum seekers on the barge was a “breach of planning control” and said there had not been “compliance” with environmental impact assessment duties.

She also argued Mrs Braverman had not complied with duties under the 2010 Equality Act.

Lawyers representing Mrs Braverman said the challenge was made to a decision taken in April to house “destitute asylum seekers on a specially adapted” barge.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s lawyers argued Mrs Parkes’s claim was ‘without merit’. Credit: PA

They argued Mrs Parkes’s claim was “out of time”, and “without merit” and said the judge should refuse to give permission for the challenge to proceed to a trial.

Government lawyers said the local planning authority did not think planning permission was required.

They also argued there was no “general principle” that housing “non-British asylum seekers” together on a vessel was “unlawful” under a public sector equality duty.

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