Priti Patel faced calls by opposition lawmakers to resign for “misleading Parliament” after she claimed the Home Office followed public health advice for asylum seekers at Napier Barracks.
Letters from Public Health England (PHE) to the Home Affairs Select Committee were issued on Wednesday revealing they had previously advised the Home Office against on-site dormitory-style housing in Folkestone, Kent, because it was not compatible with covid.
However, in the hearing of the committee in February this year, the Home Secretary told the MPs that the Home Office had followed the PHE’s guidance in the entire process.
During a debate today, several opposition lawmakers called for his resignation and raised the issue of Amber Rudd’s resignation as home secretary in 2018 after he “unintentionally misled” the committee on its goal of removing illegal immigrants.
The SNP’s Joanna Cherry, MSP for Edinburgh South West, said: “Other MPs have asked the minister whether the current Home Secretary misled the committee in oral evidence on 24 February this year.
“In response to those questions the minister continues to refer to a Public Health England letter from June of this year, which talks about full cooperation from the Home Office from the spring of this year.
“Of course when the Home Secretary gave the evidence on 24 February, she was talking about what happened earlier, not what happened this spring, and the evidence presented in the High Court shows what she said – That the Department had previously followed the Public Health Guidance in all respects with respect to Napier Barracks – just was not factually correct and the High Court has held that public health evidence was ignored which meant that the Covid outbreak was inevitable was.
“So why isn’t the Home Secretary tendering her resignation because Amber Rudd had the grace and decency?”
Labor MP Jarrah Sultana questioned why Ms Patel was not in the Commons today to “correct the record” and also referred to Ms Rudd’s resignation in 2018.
Last week six asylum seekers won a court challenge against the Home Office after the High Court found that their “ineligible” housing failed to meet the minimum standard.
On Thursday, Mr Justice Lyndon ruled in favor of the men and found that the Home Office acted unlawfully while the former military camp’s decision was appropriate.
He cited overcrowding and failure to follow the advice of the PHE as reasons for the barracks being illegally unfit.
Mr Justice Linden said: “The fact remains that the decision to use barracks failed to implement fundamental aspects of PHE’s advice – not to use dormitory-style housing, but if they did, to reduce the number to six.” To be placed in a hostel per se. Which would then become a bubble – means that the defendant failed to ensure ‘a standard of living sufficient for the health of (claimants)’, whether the point was taken in isolation or housing in the barracks Taken cumulatively along with other attributes.
Despite the High Court’s decision, the barracks, in which around 200 people were infected in January this year, still remain open.
In response to the High Court ruling last week, the Home Office said: “During the height of the pandemic, there was a need for additional housing at extremely short notice to ensure that asylum seekers were not left destitute.
“Such accommodation provided asylum seekers a safe place to live. During this period our housing providers and subcontractors have made site improvements and continue to do so.
“It is disappointing that this decision was taken on a site basis before the significant improvement work that took place under difficult conditions. Napier will continue to operate and provide safe and secure accommodation.
“We will consider the ruling and our next steps carefully.”
The Home Office has been contacted for further comments.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /