Shropshire Star

Shropshire MP urges closure of town hotel used to house 'migrants' - but his plea might fall on deaf ears

A Shropshire MP has urged the immigration minister to "strongly consider closing" a Shrewsbury hotel that is being used to house what he calls "illegal migrants".

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Daniel Kawczynski

The town missed out on being in the first tranche of 50 hotels included in plans to reduce the £8million a day costs of housing migrants.

Daniel Kawczynski, the MP for Shrewsbury & Atcham has written to the immigration minster saying that his constituents have "fiercely expressed their disapproval to me about the hotel being used to accommodate illegal migrants."

Mr Kawczynski had written at the end of November to the minister who was then Robert Jenrick - but he announced his resignation last night.

Mr Kawczynski named the hotel in his correspondence but the Shropshire Star has decided not to repeat it.

The MP writes: "I write in response to your announcement, which you made today in the House of Commons Chamber, that the Government will begin closing the hotels used to accommodate illegal migrants, starting with fifty."

"The hotel in the constituency was not part of the first tranche of 50 but the then immigration minister Robert Jenrick has said there will be more and Mr Kawczynski wants to ensure that it is.

"The hotel ... used to be a popular place of accommodation for tourists visiting the historic market town.

"However since your Department requisitioned (it) it has been used to accommodate migrants, who have entered our country illegally and are trying to remain by claiming asylum," he wrote.

"My constituents have fiercely expressed their disapproval to me about the hotel being used to accommodate illegal migrants.

"During a cost of living crisis, they are unhappy that your department is spending £8 million a day to accommodate and feed people who have broken the law.

"I request that you strongly consider closing the hotel to illegal migrants as part of the next tranche.

"I look forward to your response."

The question of what to do with people who arrive on UK shores without going through the formal processes has become a highly charged political issue in advance of the next General Election.

The minister had denied that the cut to the number of hotels used to house migrants will be focused in Conservative-held seats.

And the Local Government Association (LGA) said the number of asylum seekers presenting as homeless to councils is likely to "dramatically increase" amid Government efforts to clear the backlog in the asylum system.

The warning comes after it was announced that the number of hotels used to house migrants will be cut by 50.

The minister told MPs in Parliament that the process of "exiting" the accommodation is possible because of "the progress we've made to stop the boats".

The LGA said councils "share the Government's ambitions to end hotel use for asylum seekers" but added that greater demand combined with an "acute" housing shortage means it will be "extremely challenging" for those leaving Home Office-funded accommodation to find an affordable, long-term place to stay.

In a statement, the association's chairman and Telford Council leader Councillor Shaun Davies said: "Hotel closures have a direct impact on councils and local government wants to play an active role in working with Government on the decisions on which hotels to close.

"We also need advance engagement on what other alternatives, including large sites, will be opened up both for those leaving hotels and for ongoing new arrivals."

Mr Davies added that councils are "also becoming increasingly concerned over the numbers of asylum seekers presenting as homeless which is likely to dramatically increase when Home Office accommodation is withdrawn as a result of the current clearance of the asylum backlog".

Mr Davies told the BBC: "The deep irony is that it might be the same hotels that the Government are looking to close down for their purposes are the very same hotels that local authorities will have to stand up and fund for temporary accommodation."

The Refugee Council has also warned that cutting the number of hotels could be a factor in what it described as a developing "homelessness crisis" among migrants.

Then immigration minister had told the Commons that the first 50 of these exits will be complete by the end of January with more tranches to follow shortly.

"We will continue to deliver on our strategy to stop the boats and we will be able to exit more hotels. And as we exit these hotels, we are putting in place dedicated resource to facilitate the orderly and effective management of this process and limit the impact on local communities."

In another key aspect of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's plan to, as he says Stop The Boats from bringing people across the Channel to the UK's shores, the Government has taken another significant step.

Following the signing of a new treaty with Rwanda the Government intends to move forward with its plan to send illegal migrants to the African nation.

The flights to Rwanda plan was knocked back by a Supreme Court defeat and the latest moves have been planned to allow flights to get off the ground.

The Government has launched emergency legislation to deem Rwanda a safe country as a way of avoiding legal challenge.

Tory MPs from across the party are now expected to scrutinise the Bill, which Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will hope can reassure right-wingers and centrist MPs alike.