Rishi Sunak admits housing illegal migrants in luxury apartments while Britons struggle is 'completely wrong'

Rishi Sunak speaks to GB News

Rishi Sunak insists he is working to solve the crisis

GB News
Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 01/08/2023

- 16:48

The use of the Bibby Stockholm migrant barge has been delayed

Rishi Sunak has conceded that housing migrants in luxury apartments while Britons struggle is “completely wrong”, and is determined to seek a solution to the crisis.

It comes as the arrival of the first swathe of asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm migrant barge was delayed amid safety concerns.

The Prime Minister insists the issue is a temporary one and will be resolved, but drew focus to the crux of the problem during an exclusive interview on GB News.

“What’s going on currently is completely wrong, we’ve got a situation which is unfair. British taxpayers are forking out £6million a day to house illegal migrants in hotels and other accommodation which is clearly unfair, that’s why I want to put an end to it.

“In the short term, we’re finding alternatives like barges which is a new way to deal with this problem, but fundamentally if we want to stop this, we need to stop people coming in the first place.

“That’s why stopping the boats is one of my five priorities, that’s why we’ve passed the toughest law that any government has ever passed which will help us do that.”

It was revealed today that the crisis remains unrelenting, with the average number of migrants crossing the Channel in boats last month being the highest on record.

Some 3,299 people made the journey in July in 63 boats - an average of around 52 migrants per vessel.

This is the highest average since records began in 2018, according to Government data.

Housing the masses of illegal migrants is a problem that won’t go away for the Prime Minister, and his efforts to stem the tide took a blow when the new Bibby Stockholm barge was flagged over safety concerns.

Bibby StockholmThe 93-metre-long Bibby Stockholm will come under Home Office controlBibby Marine

According to The Times, the first group of people due to move into the accommodation faced a pushback due to serious fire concerns.

It was later reported by The Guardian that the arrival date had been pushed back to Wednesday in order to give time for final inspections.

The Prime Minister insisted that the delay is not a setback for his plan, and is very much part and parcel of the process.

He told Liam Halligan: “All migrant accommodation has to go through checks to make sure it meets regulations.

“Let’s take a step back, this is ultimately about fairness. I don’t think it’s fair that British taxpayers are shelling out £6million a day to keep asylum seekers in hotels.

“I want to put an end to that and that’s why we’re passing new bills. If you come here illegally, you shouldn’t be allowed to stay.

“We should be able to detain you and send you back to your own country if it’s safe, or a safe alternative like Rwanda. I think that’s the right thing to do.”

The Prime Minister took aim at the Labour Party, accusing them of “vociferously” tackling his efforts to address the crisis by “voting against them 70 times”.

Provisional Home Office figures show 14,732 migrants have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel so far this year. But no arrivals have been recorded in nearly a week amid poor weather conditions at sea.

The 2023 total to date is 10% lower than the 16,434 recorded from January to July last year.

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