Priti Patel has confronted calls to resign by opposition MPs for “deceptive parliament” after she claimed the Residence Workplace adopted public well being recommendation when housing asylum seekers at Napier Barracks.
Letters to the Residence Affairs Choose Committee from Public Well being England (PHE) have been launched on Wednesday revealing that they’d beforehand suggested the Residence Workplace in opposition to dormitory-style lodging on the website in Folkestone, Kent, because it was not Covid compliant.
Nonetheless at a listening to of the Committee in February this yr the house secretary instructed MPs that the Residence Workplace had adopted PHE steerage all through the method.
Throughout a debate as we speak a number of opposition MPs referred to as for her resignation and raised the case of Amber Rudd resigning as residence secretary in 2018 for “inadvertently deceptive” the Committee over targets for eradicating unlawful immigrants.
The SNP’s Joanna Cherry, MSP for Edinburgh South West, stated: “Different MPs have requested the minister whether or not the present Residence Secretary misled the committee in oral proof on February 24 this yr.
“In response to these questions the minister retains referring to a Public Well being England letter from June of this yr, which talks about full co-operation from the Residence Workplace since spring of this yr.
“In fact when the Residence Secretary gave proof on February 24, she was speaking about what had occurred earlier than then, not what occurred this spring, and proof introduced to the Excessive Court docket means that what she stated – that the division had beforehand adopted public well being steerage relating to Napier Barracks in each single manner – was merely not factually right and the Excessive Court docket has stated the truth that the general public well being proof was ignored meant the Covid outbreak was inevitable.
“So why isn’t the Residence Secretary tendering her resignation as Amber Rudd had the grace and decency to do?”
Labour MP Zarah Sultana questioned why Ms Patel was not within the Commons as we speak to “right the document” and in addition made reference to Ms Rudd’s resignation in 2018.
Final week six asylum seekers received a courtroom problem in opposition to the Residence Workplace after the Excessive Court docket discovered their “squalid” lodging failed to satisfy a minimal normal.
On Thursday, Mr Justice Linden dominated in favour of the lads and located the Residence Workplace acted unlawfully when deciding the previous navy camp was acceptable.
He referenced overcrowding and the failure to comply with PHE recommendation among the many causes the barracks have been unlawfully unsuitable.
Mr Justice Linden added: “The truth that the choice to utilize the barracks entailed failing to use elementary points of the recommendation of PHE – to not use dormitory-style lodging however, in the event that they did, to maintain numbers down to 6 per dormitory which might then kind a bubble – meant that the defendant failed to make sure ‘a way of life satisfactory for the well being of (the claimants)’ whether or not the purpose is taken in isolation or cumulatively with the opposite options of the lodging on the barrack.”
Regardless of the Excessive Court docket ruling the barracks, which had a Covid outbreak in January this yr infecting nearly 200 folks, remains to be open.
In response to the Excessive Court docket ruling final week, the Residence Workplace stated: “Through the top of the pandemic, to make sure asylum seekers weren’t left destitute, extra lodging was required at extraordinarily quick discover.
“Such lodging offered asylum seekers a secure and safe place to remain. All through this era our lodging suppliers and sub-contractors have made enhancements to the positioning and proceed to take action.
“It’s disappointing that this judgment was reached on the premise of the positioning previous to the numerous enchancment works which have taken place in tough circumstances. Napier will proceed to function and supply secure and safe lodging.
“We are going to fastidiously think about the ruling and our subsequent steps.”
The Residence Workplace has been contacted for additional remark.
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