Suella Braverman to declare 'national emergency' over small boats crisis

Suella Braverman speaks in Parliament

The Home Secretary will make the announcement on Wednesday

Mark White

By Mark White

Published: 18/04/2023

- 18:17

The move is being made in response to a High Court challenge on Wednesday

The Home Secretary is to effectively declare the small boats crisis a 'national emergency'.

The move is being made in response to a High Court challenge on Wednesday, aimed at halting government plans to house asylum seekers on an old RAF base in Essex.

Braintree Council will attempt to secure an injunction, preventing the transfer of 1,700 migrants to the Wethersfield air base.

The declaration of a national emergency would give the Home Office powers to ignore local authority objections if the plans relate to Crown owned property.

A lifeboat carrying migrants arrives on British shores

The small boats crisis is set to be dubbed a 'national emergency'


The development comes as a group of Wirral MPs have condemned government plans to house almost 2000 asylum seekers in a vessel on the Mersey.

GB News understands that the Home Office informed the area's local authority last week that officials are considering the Wirral Waters regeneration project as a location to base around 1,800 migrants in the months ahead.

Wirral Waters is a large scale £4.5 billion development under construction in Birkenhead.

A spokesperson for the developers Peel Ports has confirmed that it plans to go ahead with the plans in partnership with the Home Office, subject to consultations with the local council.

Now a group of three local MPs have attacked the plans, branding them "inhumane and unworkable."

In a joint statement, Angela Eagle, Margaret Greenwood and Mick Whitely said: "We owe a duty of care towards those who come to the UK fleeing conflict and persecution.

"Instead, this government is abandoning its responsibilities to ensure the safety and wellbeing of people claiming asylum in the UK.

"Government policy is now being driven by a sense of wanton cruelty without any intention of trying to secure positive outcomes for those involved.”

The MPs and local campaigners said they were concerned the vessel would be located in an area which lacks adequate transport links, and that asylum seekers would effectively be “stranded on what amounts to a prison ship.”

A spokesperson for Peel Ports said: “We have provided a berth for a vessel accommodating refugees in Glasgow for the last year and this has worked well thanks to the willing participation of the local authority and their collaboration with the vessel’s management team and the port operators.

“We have similar port infrastructure available in Birkenhead that can be provided for the same purpose.”

The developers added: “We have been clear throughout discussions that this model can only work successfully with the full engagement and support of the local authority and other relevant stakeholders.

GB News has reached out to the Home Office for comment.

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