London politics LIVE: Robert Jenrick unveils hardline Government plans for housing asylum seekers and economic migrants

Asylum seekers and economic migrants will be given “essential living needs and nothing more” as they are housed in “portacabins” and disused barracks under the Government’s hardline and deeply controversial new policy, Home Office minister Robert Jenrick announced on Wednesday.

The move threatens to tear up Britain’s reputation for offering a safe haven to people fleeing persecution.

But Mr Jenrick defended it as vital to tackle the “small boats” Channel crisis.

He said two military bases in Essex and Lincolnshire would be used, as well as a site in East Sussex, to house thousands of people who have come to Britain on “small boats”.

The Government would “explore” the possible use of giant barges or ships as other accommodation, he added.

He spoke in the Commons after Dominic Raab and Angela Rayner clashed over the Tories record on crime at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday lunchtime.

Deputy Labour leader Ms Rayner said “women feel unsafe” and on his watch rapists have been “left to roam the streets of Britain.”

She blamed Deputy Prime Minister Mr Raab for the backlog of court cases in the criminal justice system.

The deputies were filling in for Prime Rishi Sunak at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday lunchtime - as the Prime Minister and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer attend the funeral of late Commons Speaker Baroness Betty Boothroyd.

Live coverage ends

18:11 , Josh Salisbury

Our live coverage of today’s political developments has now ended.

For an overview of the day’s main developments, please visit here.

Return to Stormont, DUP urged over Stormont Brake

17:47 , Josh Salisbury

A Northern Ireland office minister has warned its parties that unless power sharing Stormont is restored it will continue to automatically align with Brussels’ regulations.

Lord Caine told Parliament that the so-called ‘Stormont Brake’ contained in Rishi Sunak’s new post-Brexit deal to block the application of EU law in Northern Ireland can only be used if Stormont itself is up an running.

The devolved executive has not been functioning since last year.

Lord Caine was speaking as the DUP moved to block the Stormont brake with a fatal motion in the House of Lords.

The DUP has opposed the measure and wider pact, arguing it still leaves Northern Ireland subject to EU laws, and has refused to return to powersharing.

DUP chairman Lord Morrow said: “We joined Europe as one identity, why aren't we leaving it as a single identity?"

Julian Knight ‘will not have whip restored’ - Tory whips’ office

16:42 , Josh Salisbury

Julian Knight will not have the Conservative whip restored “following further complaints made to the Whips Office", a spokeswoman for Tory Party Chief Whip Simon Hart said.

The spokesperson said: “Following further complaints made to the Whips Office, we will not be restoring the Whip to Julian Knight.

“These complaints, if appropriate, will be referred to the relevant police force, or appropriate bodies."

Tory MP Julian Knight says he has been cleared by police of a serious sexual assault allegation

15:53 , Bill Mcloughlin

Scotland Yard received an allegation of serious sexual assault on October 28 last year, and on December 7 a further referral relating to the incident was made and an investigation into Mr Knight was launched.

In a statement, Mr Knight said: “The fact is that there was never anything for the police to investigate. This was a single, false and malicious allegation initially brought to them by third parties, each of whom had their own clear motives for doing so.

“In publicly naming me in connection with the allegation, the Conservative Whips Office acted disgracefully and in breach of natural justice by removing my anonymity. Their actions meant my name was dragged through the mud and my good reputation immeasurably damaged.

“The conduct of one person in the Whips Office, and the language used towards me, was particularly egregious.

“Had the police taken the simple step at outset of interviewing me under caution, they would have seen that the allegation was false and scandalous. Instead, they waited four months, without ever talking to me, before deciding there was nothing for them to investigate.

“I have been left effectively to prove my innocence through my public statements and letters to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and the Chief Whip. That cannot be right.

“It is now my intention to use every legal route available to pursue those inside and outside Parliament involved in having this allegation brought against me.”

Further tributes paid to Betty Boothroyd

15:23 , Bill Mcloughlin

Baroness Betty Boothroyd will be remembered as an "inspiration", Sir Lindsay Hoyle said at the trailblazing former Commons speaker's funeral.

He added: “She smashed that glass ceiling to smithereens. She became the first and only woman speaker we’ve ever had.

“Well I’ve got to say, what a fantastic speaker. She is one of the greatest speakers ever known. One of the greatest women that I can honestly say that I have known.

“I will always be in awe and always thank her for her kindness and her advice.”


Local police force claims housing migrants at RAF base would create ‘additional burden’

14:55 , Bill Mcloughlin

Marc Jones, the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said that today’s announcement was “extremely disappointing”.

He went further to say that using RAF Scampton would create increase pressure for the county’s police force.

He added: "I know that the local community will feel very let down, frustrated and angry at the way things have unfolded, and whilst I can't change the decision that has been made, I can and will do everything within my power to ensure they feel, and are, safe.

"I have been speaking directly to officials in Number 10 and the Home Office, and met in person with the Crime and Policing Minister, to raise concerns directly with him regarding the additional burden this proposal would be to Lincolnshire Police, as well as other local agencies and councils.

"I have been robust and clear in these discussions, and I am confident that there is no grey area regarding my strength of feeling when it comes to what is required to support the people of Lincolnshire from a community safety and reassurance perspective.

"As yet, there is no outcome to the ongoing dialogue with Government but I am currently working with the Chief Constable to ensure the force is doing what it can to prepare to meet this new set of challenges to keep our communities feeling and being safe."

Questions continue over new migrant plan

14:29 , Bill Mcloughlin

Continuing the scrutiny of the Government’s new proposal, Labour's Hilary Benn (Leeds Central) asked: "Could he tell the House how many thousand? And in doing so could he remind us of the total number of people who are being placed in hotels currently?"

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick replied: "The number of individuals who will be housed on the sites will step up.

"Obviously we want to ensure that the sites are well managed and so initially there'll be smaller numbers, but within a very short period of time there will be several thousand on those sites."

He added: "They will be a very significant addition to our capacity... This is the first step on the road to clearing those hotels and moving forwards.

"There is no way in which I or the British Government can build our way out of this issue. There are tens of thousands of people entering our country in an irregular manner every year.

"We've got to stop people coming here in the first place, that's why we're bringing forward the Bill."

Foreign Secretary admits using site in his seat ‘isn’t the result my constituents and I wanted'

14:18 , Bill Mcloughlin

James Cleverly, MP for Braintree, said he would work with Home Secretary Suella Braverman and immigration minister Robert Jenrick "to make sure that the centre does not have an adverse impact on the community" in Wethersfield.

The Foreign Secretary added: "The Home Office has confirmed that the former MDP Wethersfield will become a temporary asylum reception centre.

"Although this decision isn't the result my constituents and I wanted, I have received assurances that community safety will remain paramount.

"I have made my views on the site clear from the beginning. My views, and those of local residents were taken into account by the Home Office and considerable mitigations for the local community will be put in place.

"That will include 24/7 security on site and new funding for local services."


New accommodation for refugees ‘certainly suitable’, says MP

14:08 , Bill Mcloughlin

Conservative Marco Longhi described using army barracks for refugees as “entirely suitable” following the announcement of the new measures today.

He asked: "Whilst the Government accelerates assessment, enforcement and removal that it is quite right that we look at suitable and sustainable accommodation for illegal immigrants and we will he also agree with me therefore that if armed forces bases are suitable for our brave, they are certainly suitable for illegal (immigration).

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick replied: "He's right to say that there is a peculiarity on the left of politics that they seem to be happy to house our brave armed forces personnel on these sites, but not to see illegal immigrants temporarily housed there whilst we process their claims.

"Of course we will always be motivated by decency and legality, these sites will be well run and appropriate but we mustn't allow a further pull factor to the UK to emerge."

Government faces legal fight against asylum seeker housing at RAF bases, says Tory MP

13:53 , Bill Mcloughlin

Tory MPs on Wednesday threatened to rebel over plans to house thousands of asylum seekers at former RAF airfields in Essex and Lincolnshire.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick announced RAF Scampton near Lincoln, Wethersfield airfield in Essex and a separate site on private land in Bexhill, East Sussex will be used as accommodation as he tries to reduce the Government’s £6.8m-a-day hotels bill.

But the plans were savaged by Tory MPs and councillors.

Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh said West Lindsey District Council will issue an “immediate judicial review and injunction” against the “thoroughly bad decision” to house 1,500 asylum seekers at RAF Scampton.

“It is not based on good governance but the politics of trying to do something,” the Gainsborough MP said.

He argued that the site, which was home of the Dambusters during the Second World War and former Red Arrows HQ, had a £300m regeneration plan in place, which could be thrown into disarray by the move.

“Lincolnshire will fight and Lincolnshire will be proved right”, Sir Edward added.

Read our story here.

Tory MP: Housing migrants on barges ‘totally and utterly out of the question’

13:41 , Matt Watts

Conservative MP Richard Drax said housing migrants on “boats or on barges” is “totally and utterly out of the question”.

The MP for South Dorset said: “Land-based reception camps in the right place has to be the solution. Does (he) agree with me that if you look at what’s happened in hotels so far with illegal migrants, we’ve had all kinds of issues with local residents, disappearing children, sexual assaults etc…

“So would he agree with me that putting these people on boats or on barges where the problem’s going to be exacerbated ten-fold is totally and utterly out of the question.”

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick replied: “There are no easy answers… but I do think that placing asylum seekers on well run, large sites with specific facilities provided, having minimal impact upon local communities is the right approach.

“Taking hotels in hotels in relatively ad hoc fashion in town centres, on high streets is not the right way forward. With respect to vessels such as barges or ferries, I do see merit in that.”

Former Home Secretary Priti Patel also criticises plan

13:29 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Priti Patel pressed ministers on the decision to scrap plans to turn former RAF station Linton-on-Ouse into a centre for asylum seekers and suggested RAF Wethersfield, near her constituency, would not be a suitable location.

The Tory former home secretary told the Commons: “I am an Essex MP and I’m the other MP for Braintree District. Wethersfield is not in my constituency, (it) is in the constituency of the Foreign Secretary.

“It is no difference, if I may say so, in terms of the rurality and the village size to a former site, not in Essex, which was Linton-on-Ouse, which was cancelled by the current Government.

Former home secretary Priti Patel (PA Wire)
Former home secretary Priti Patel (PA Wire)

“Can I ask why it is deemed appropriate for asylum seeker accommodation to be placed in a rural village in Essex with single men where there is no infrastructure, no amenities, but it was not appropriate for somewhere like Linton-on-Ouse?”

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick paid tribute to Ms Patel for starting “this good work with her new plan for immigration”, adding: “I can say that we don’t have a current plan to proceed with Linton-on-Ouse, but the sites that I’ve announced today are just the first set that we would like to take forward.

“Because we want to remove people from hotels as quickly as possible and to move to this more rudimentary form of accommodation, which will reduce pull factors to the UK and defend the interests of the taxpayer.”

Tory MP says ‘Lincolnshire will fight’ Government over ‘thoroughly bad decision'

13:27 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP for Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, has said the county “will fight” the Government over its plan.

“Although the minster did not mention RAF Scampton by name, we assume that is the base in Lincolnshire he is referring to,” he told the Commons.

“I can inform him that the moment this is confirmed, the local authority, West Lindsey, will issue an immediate judicial review and injunction against this thoroughly bad decision which is not based on good governance but the politics of trying to do something.


“How can he guarantee that we will not lose £300 million worth of regeneration already agreeed and signed between West Lindsey and Scampton Holdings? How do you preserve the listed buildings, the heritage centre? How do you preserve the heritage of the Dambusters and of the Red Arrows?

“How will he protect the safety of 1,000 people living right next door? He can’t guarantee anything.”

He urged Mr Jenrick to “work with West Lindsey and Lincolnshire, to try and find an alternative site”.

“We do not want to lose £300 million of regeneration,” he said. “Lincolnshire will fight, and Lincolnshire will be proved right.”

Mr Jenrick responed: “Whilst this policy is without question in the national interest, we understand the impact and the concen tht there will be within local communities.”

He assured there will be “a significant package of support” for local residents and “the unique heritage on the site”.

“We don’t intend to make any use of the historic buildings,” he said, adding: “We do see this as a short-term arrangement”.

Talk of barges was a distraction tactic, claims Shadow Home Secretary

13:17 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Plans to use barges to house asylum seekers shows the Government are “desperate to distract” from what their policies will do to the former home of the Dambusters, Labour said.

Speaking in the Commons, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “The Prime Minister has just said the Home Secretary was wrong, the Rwanda flights won’t start this summer.

“They’ve nowhere to send people to, and instead of speeding up asylum decisions they are just going to cancel them, so that means more people in asylum accommodation and hotels and more flimflam headlines that just don’t stack up.

“Today it was barges, and it turns out there aren’t any. Desperate to distract everyone from the damage they might want to do to the Dambusters heritage, instead they start talking about ferries and barges.

“Three years ago they said the same thing. Last summer the Prime Minister said it would be cruise liners. The Home Office civil servants said ferries would end up costing more than the hotels they are already spending so much money on.

“So instead the immigration minister has been sent around the country with a copy Waterways Weekly trying to find barges instead, and he still hasn’t found any.”

Mr Jenrick responded by accusing the Labour Party of being “too weak to take the kind of decisions that we are taking today”.

Shadow Home Secretary blasts migrant housing plan as ‘an admission of failure’

13:06 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Shadow secretary of state Yvette Cooper has hit out at the plan announced by Mr Jenrick, calling it ”an admission of failure” to tackle the UK’s migrant crisis.

“Four years ago, Cabinet said they would halve Channel crossings. They’ve gone up twenty-fold since then,” she told the Commons.

“A year ago they said they’d end hotel use - they’ve opened more than ever. They keep making new announcements but it just keeps getting worse.

“People want to see strong border security and a properly managed asylum and refugee system so tha thter UK does its bit to help people fleeing persecution and conflict.”

New plan will save British public from ‘eye-watering’ hotel bills, says Immigration Minister

13:02 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Immigration Minister Mr Jenrick told the Commons the new sites to accommodate migrants are “undoubtedly in the national interest”.

“We have to deliver them if we’re to stop the use of save the British public from spending eye-watering amounts accommodating illegal prevent a pull factor for economic migrants on the continent taking hold,” he said. “Inaction is not an option.”

Security and healthcare will be provided at new migrant sites

12:59 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Mr Jenrick said he “recognise[s] the concerns of local reisdents” living near barracks that are to be used to house migrants.

He said the Government plans to “minimise the impact of these sites on communities”

“Basic healthcare will be available, around-the-clock security will be provided on-site, and our providers will work closely with local police and other partners; funding will be provided to local authorities where these sites are located,” he said.

New plan ‘wont end use of hotels overnight’

12:54 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Mr Jenrick said the new sites “on their own will not end the use of hotels overnight”.

“But alongside local dispersal and other forms of accommodation, which we will bring forward in due course, they will relieve pressure on our cmmunitues and they will manage asylum seekers in a more appropriate and cost-effective way,” he said.

The current scheme of housing migrants in hotels is costing the Government £6.8 million a day, sparking calls from across the Commons for the system to be replaced.

Migrants could also be housed in boats, Immigration Minister adds

12:52 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Mr Jenrick added: “We are continuing to explore the possibility of accommodating migrants in vessels, as they are in Scotland and in the Netherlands.”

Earlier today, ahead of Mr Jenrick’s announcement, The Times reported that ministers were considering using a barge capable of holding hundreds of people to house migrants.

Migrants will be housed in ‘basic accommodation’ at former barracks, Immigration Minister confirms

12:49 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Mr Jenrick has formerly announced plans to begin housing migrants in former military barracks.

“We have to suffuse our entire system with deterrents, and this must include how we house illegal migrants,” he told the Commons.

“So today the Government is announcing the first tranche of sites we will set up to provide basiuc accommodation at scale.

“The Government will use military sites being disposed of in Essex and Lincolnshire, and a separate site in East Sussex.

“These will be scaled up over the coming months, and will collectively provide accommodation to thousands of asylum seekers through repurposed barrack blocks and portakabins.”

Migrant accommodation ‘should meet essential living needs and nothing more’ - Immigration Minister

12:46 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Mr Jenrick said accommodation for migrants “should meet thhe essential living needs and nothing more”, adding that the UK “cannot risk becoming a magnet” for those looking for a better quality of life.

Immigration minister set to unveil plans to move migrants out of hotels

12:45 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

PMQs has now ended.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick has taken the floor, and is expected to formally unveil the Government’s plans to move migrants out of hotels and into alternative accommodation.

“We must not elevate the wellbing of illegal migrants over that of the British people,” he said. “It is right that we act to correct the injustic eof hte current siutation.

He has opened by announcing an additional package of funding from central government to help local authorities house migrants.

Mhairi Black mocks Raab over Tories caught up in ‘MPs for hire’

12:40 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Dominic Raab was mocked over his Conservative colleagues who were found to be offering their services for consultancy work at rates of £10,000 per day.

SNP deputy Westminster leader Mhairi Black referenced video footage from campaign group Led By Donkeys of Tories including Sir Graham Brady, former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, and former health secretary Matt Hancock revealing how much they would accept for consultancy work.

She said: “Can I ask the Deputy Prime Minister, when he is inevitably booted out of office, what will his going rate be?”

The Deputy Prime Minister said: “The system of declarations is there to ensure transparency and accountability, and of course the Conservatives backed tightening up those rules to make sure there couldn’t be any lobbying.”

Tories ‘MIA in fight against crime’, says deputy Labour leader

12:35 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Ms Rayner accused the Conservatives of being “missing in action in the fight against crime” as she said police officers are “disappearing from our streets”.

“It’s not just his department where antisocial behaviour is running out of control, it’s happening across the country,” she said.

“Police officers disappearing from our streets, replaced by criminals plaguing our towns and leaving people feeling unsafe. The truth is that the Conservatives are missing in action in the fight against crime.

“So can [Mr Raab] tell his constituents and the public, why after 13 years of his party in Government there are now 6,000 fewer neighbourhood police officers on Britain’s streets?

Deputy Prime Minister Mr Raab responded: “Crime is lower than it was under the last Labour government.

“Violent crime has halved, re-offending is seven percentage points lower and if [Ms Rayner] really wants to stand up for the public and the victims of crime, [Labour] should back our Bill to protect victims and protect the most vulnerable from serious killers, rapists and terrorists.”

Raab asked to apologise to rape victims over his ‘failures'

12:29 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Dominic Raab faced calls from Labour to apologise to rape victims because of his “failures” as Justice Secretary.

Ms Rayner told the Commons: “He hasn’t answered my question because he is too ashamed of the answer: 1.6% of rapists faced being charged for their crime – 1.6%. Let that sink in.”

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner questioning Dominic Raab in the Commons (PRU/AFP via Getty Images)
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner questioning Dominic Raab in the Commons (PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

She added: “More than half-a-million cases of rape have been recorded by the police but the charge rate for those attacks have collapsed. He has served under five Tory prime ministers and had three years as Justice minister and on his watch, rapists are left to roam the streets.

“So will he apologise to those victims who will never get justice because of his failures?”

The Deputy Prime Minister replied: “They are talking a good game, in fact we have quadrupled funding for victims since 2010. If she looks at the latest data, the time it has taken from charge to completion of a rape case has come down by 10 weeks or 70% in the last three months alone.

“She should get her facts straight, particularly when talking about such a sensitive issue.”

Rayner blames Raab for ‘failure to sort court backlog’

12:28 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Ms Rayner has blamed the country’s backlog of court cases on Mr Raab, who served as Justice Secretary between 2021 and 2022.

She says rape victims are “waiting on average of three years for their cases to come to court”, which is leading many to withdraw from their cases.

Of the Deputy Prime Minister, she asked: “When will he apologise to all those women denied justice bacause of his failure to sort the court backlog?”

Mr Raab responded by saying Ms Rayer had “ignore[d] the impact of the pandemic” and strikes upon the court system.

“We’ve quadrupled funding for victims since 2010, we launched a 24/7 support line so that when victims of that appalling crime come forward they get the support they need, and we’re making sure that women...can give pre-recorded evidence [in court],” he said.

“And we will keep taking action.”

Rayner: Will Raab quit before he is pushed?

12:20 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Citing bullying complaints faced by Mr Raab, Ms Rayner asked of the Deputy Prime Minister: “Will he walk before he is pushed?”

Mr Raab responded by defending himself, accusing Ms Rayner of bringing her “usual bluster and political opportunism” to the Commons.

Rayner quizzes Raab on rape charge rate and courts backlog

12:17 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Angela Rayner has moved on to the issue of rape charges and the backlog of cases being faced by courts.

The Deputy Labour leader told the Commons: “Let’s talk about crime. He knows as well as I do that neighbouring police can help prevent anti-social behaviour and knife crime. But trusted local police are also crucial to protecting women.

“Women feel unsafe on Britain’s streets, always looking over our shoulder as we hurry to our front door. Can he tell me under his watch as justice secretary, what is the charge rate for rape?”

Dominic Raab responded that tackling rape is “one of our top priorities”.

He added: “She asks what we are doing about it, since 2019 police referrals of cases have doubled, CPS charges have doubled, she asks on my watch what has happened, the volume of convictions in rape cases has increased by two-thirds.

“If she really wants to protect vulnerable women whether it is from rapists or other serious crimes they will back our parole reforms which will mean ministers are able to prevent them being released into the public and cause more threats.”

Deputy Labour leader grills Raab on Government’s antisocial behaviour crackdown

12:10 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Angela Rayner has opened by grilling Dominic Raab on the Government’s wide-ranging plan to clamp down on antisocial behaviour in Britain, which was revealed earlier this week.

Making a thinly veiled dig at the Deputy Prime Minister, who has faced string of bullying allegations, she asked if he thinks “more bullies will be brought to justice” under the plans.

She said: “This week the Government announced their so-called anti-social behaviour policy, it’s only taken 13 years and, look I’ll give him some credit, the Deputy Prime Minister knows first hand the misery caused by thugs and their intimidating behaviour.

“Lurking with menace, exploding in fits of rage, creating a culture of fear and maybe even, I don’t know, throwing things. So can I ask him under his new anti-social behaviour (policy) does he think more bullies will be brought to justice?”

Mr Raab replied: “I can reassure the House that I’ve never called anyone scum.”

He added: “But if (she) is serious about standing up for communities and people who suffer at the scourge of anti-social behaviour, she’d back our plan to deal more swiftly with these issues, to make sure that we ban drugs beyond the conventional ones, give police the powers they need.

“And if they really want to protect the public they’ll back our plans for parole reform to make sure that murderers, that terrorists, that child killers are not allowed out free to threaten other people and re-introduce the ministerial veto that that side took away.”

PMQs begins with Commons paying tribute to the late Betty Boothroyd

12:05 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

PMQs is underway.

Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Eleanor Laing is presiding over the session, as speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle is attending the funeral of the late former Commons speaker Baroness Betty Boothroyd, along with Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, who is filling in for Mr Sunak, opened by paying tribute to Baroness Boothroyd.

Sunak and Starmer arrive at Betty Boothroyd’s funeral

11:57 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer have arrived in the village of Thriplow outside Cambridge for the funeral of former Commons speaker Baroness Betty Boothroyd.

Current Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, has also arrived at the 12th century St George’s Church ahead of the private service.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

What are the Government’s plans for housing migrants in barges and barracks?

11:41 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Migrants are set to be moved from hotels to barges and disused military barracks, in plans expected to be announced by the Government today.

Ministers are keen to end the use of hotels for housing asylum seekers - a scheme which is currently costing the Government £6.8 million a day.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick is set to announce that people arriving in the UK through unauthorised means will be put up in sites including RAF Wethersfield in Essex and RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire – the former home of the Dambusters, according to several newspapers.

RAF Wethersfield in Essex (Getty Images)
RAF Wethersfield in Essex (Getty Images)

Government sources say each site could hold up to 2,000 migrants, the BBC is reporting, and will initially be used for new arrivals rather than to rehouse people currently living in hotels.

The Times reported that some 3,000 migrants currently living in hotels could be moved to the two bases.

Ministers are also also considering using a barge capable of holding hundreds of people, the paper reported, quoting a government source as saying such accommodation would have a “deterrent effect” on people arriving in small boats.

Such vessels, typically used for offshore construction projects, have only basic facilities.

Questioned about the scheme on radio station LBC earlier today, Mr Raab said “nothing is off the table” when it came to dealing with the “small boats” Channel crisis. But asked how many barges the Government had available, he was unable to give an answer.

Read more on the plans - which Dominic Raab is expected to be questioned on when PMQs kicks off shortly - here.

Deputies to fill in for PM and Labour leader at PMQs

11:25 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Hello, and welcome to the Evening Standard’s live blog.

We’ll be bringing you everything you need to know throughout PMQs this afternoon, when deputy prime minister Dominic Raab goes head-to-head with deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner, as they fill in for Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer.

PMQs is due to begin at midday. Follow along for all the latest updates.