British media outlets have accused Home Secretary Soella Braverman of adopting “horrific” and “cruel” plans over a proposal to house asylum seekers in camps, just weeks after the British House of Commons passed the Stop the Boats Act.
The Independent reported on Saturday 29 July that the Home Office is working on contingency plans for the use of tents, ahead of an expected increase in the number of people arriving across the Channel in small boats.
Former Justice Secretary Lord Charlie Falconer warned in the newspaper that “the establishment of refugee camps on abandoned military bases across the country … is against the law.” Refugee charities also accused the Home Secretary of trying to “demonize asylum seekers”.
Lord Alfred Dubs of the Labor Party, who arrived in Britain as a refugee child, also told the newspaper that the move risked creating another camp like the one in Calais, France, which was nicknamed “the Jungle”.
The newspaper highlighted that despite Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to “stop the boats,” more than 14,000 people have arrived by boat so far this year.
The Independent added that the tent plan comes after a move by the Home Office to shelter people in barges anchored off the coast, due to the ships’ failure to find a place to dock.
Greens MP Caroline Lucas described the measure as a “malicious measure that degrades asylum seekers rather than treating them as human beings”.
The newspaper quoted government sources as saying that a similar proposal to house migrants in tents was rejected last year, due to warnings that it would lead to legal challenges based on the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers.
Under the Stop the Boats Act passed by the British House of Commons earlier this month, the government will be able to “stop and detain any asylum-seeker who arrives on British shores illegally and immediately deport them to Rwanda or hand them over back to the country of origin from which they fled, if it is safe.”