Preparations continue at military base to be used for asylum seeker processing

·2 min read

Preparations are continuing at a controversial military base in Kent that will be used to process asylum seekers.

Part of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) site in Manston will be used to house people for up to five days, as large numbers of small boats continue to cross the English Channel.

Pictures taken at the base on Thursday appear to show work under way with tents being put up.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
Part of the Ministry of Defence site in Manston (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The Home Office has previously said the site – to be used for “security and identity checks” – would be up and running by this month.

The use of MoD land and facilities to house asylum seekers has often come under fire from politicians and charities.

Tory MP Sir Roger Gale, whose constituency includes Manston, told the House of Commons in December the site was “inappropriate”.

Asking an urgent question, the MP for North Thanet said: “There is no indication as to how the site will accommodate these human beings, will be made secure or what facilities will be made available, other than statutory (rules) on the site medical services.”

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
The site will be used as a processing centre for asylum seekers (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Napier Barracks near Folkestone is currently used to house asylum-seekers but has been dogged by allegations of poor conditions in communal dormitories, with inspectors describing an isolation block as “unfit for habitation”.

The scandal-hit site, which dates back more than 130 years, was hit by a major outbreak of Covid-19 earlier this year which saw almost 200 infections.

Despite often sub-zero temperatures in the Dover Strait, almost 1,000 people have made the dangerous journey to the UK aboard small boats so far this year.

This is compared with 223 in January 2020, according to data compiled by the PA news agency.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting