A watchdog has demanded a meeting with the immigration minister after doubtlessly lethal micro organism was discovered on the Bibby Stockholm barge.
In a proper letter to the Unbiased Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) on Thursday, Labour known as for an pressing inquiry to be triggered into why asylum seekers have been placed on the vessel on the identical day check outcomes discovered Legionella in its water system.
Shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock requested whether or not the method was dangerously “accelerated for causes of political presentation”, initially of the federal government’s “small boats week” of bulletins.
The Labour MP stated the House Workplace had not answered his questions, and as an alternative “engaged in a blame recreation” over when it was knowledgeable that Legionella was current.
“I’m subsequently asking you to open an impartial investigation, as a matter of urgency, so you may reduce by way of all of the blended messages and set up a single model of the reality,” Mr Kinnock wrote.
“I’d ask that you simply particularly look into why the House Workplace selected to board the asylum seekers earlier than they’d acquired the check outcomes, provided that the Legionella testing course of was initiated on 25 July.”
Chief inspector David Neal informed The Unbiased he was “urgent for” a meeting with Robert Jenrick to debate the problems, including: “I proceed to carefully monitor occasions surrounding the Bibby Stockholm.
“I’ve learn Mr Kinnock’s letter and can take into account his factors fastidiously and reply appropriately. Within the meantime, I proceed to press for a meeting with the immigration minister to debate.”
The ICIBI has beforehand launched a raft of scathing stories into the federal government’s dealing with of English Channel crossings, small boat reception centres and lodging for asylum seekers.
Inspections revealed that the House Workplace was illegally housing baby asylum seekers in accommodations, wrongly detaining victims of torture and trafficking, lacking safety and vulnerability checks on small boat migrants and leaving 1000’s of refugees stranded in “unsafe conditions” overseas.
The federal government’s £1.6bn contract with barge operator Company Journey Administration (CTM) requires a “Legionella Report” to be ready, alongside different well being and security stories.
An organization consultant informed The Unbiased a report was supplied “prematurely of a contract being entered into” as required however wouldn’t reply questions on when that was, why the outcomes have been, or why extra assessments have been began final month.
Mr Kinnock stated an inquiry should set up whether or not the House Workplace knew concerning the presence of Legionella earlier than asylum seekers have been placed on the Bibby Stockholm, and when extra folks have been loaded on after an official was allegedly informed concerning the outcomes on 8 August.
“It’s clear that the federal government’s dealing with of this scandal has been chaotic and begs the query as as to whether the method was accelerated for causes of political presentation.” his letter added.
“The barge has sat empty and unusable for 23 of the 28 days it has been docked in Dorset … by my calculations the vessel has already price the taxpayer some £3m. It is a large amount of cash that has to this point delivered no final result.”
The House Workplace stated it didn’t recognise the figures, and had scrutinised the lodging websites’ worth for cash in comparison with accommodations.
It hopes to accommodate as much as 500 males on the Bibby Stockholm, which solely has 222 cabins, and has already seen a wave of authorized letters difficult switch notices over psychological and bodily well being points.
Contained in the ‘Bibby Stockholm’ asylum barge
The House Workplace dropped makes an attempt to maneuver greater than 20 folks final week however threatened different asylum seekers with the withdrawal of housing and monetary help in the event that they refused to stay on the barge.
Most of these chosen weren’t small boat migrants and claimed asylum after flying to the UK legally, The Unbiased revealed.
Rishi Sunak has dedicated to placing folks again on the barge, and procuring others, as a part of his plans for “various lodging” to chop the £6m-a-day price of asylum accommodations.
However asylum seekers have been informed they won’t be moved again onto the Bibby Stockholm for weeks, amid ongoing work to “flush” and retest its water system.
A House Workplace spokesperson stated: “The well being and welfare of asylum seekers stays of the utmost precedence.
“The House Workplace and our contractors are following all protocol and recommendation from Dorset Council’s Environmental Well being group, UK Well being Safety Company and Dorset NHS who we’re working carefully with.”