Home Office faces legal action over launch of £20k-a-day migrant barge this week

The Home Office is facing legal action over the first migrant barge, which is set to be unveiled this week. 

Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, is set to announce a lease agreement to house asylum seekers at the Bibby Stockholm “floatel” in Portland, Dorset.

The 93-metre-long vessel can accommodate up to 506 people and is expected to cost more than £20,000 per day.

However, it is understood that South Dorset MP Richard Drax, Dorset council, residents’ groups, charities, and the local police and crime commissioner are preparing legal action against the plans.

They claim that the Home Office failed to consult the community, that the location is unsuitable for housing migrants, and that there are insufficient local facilities to support them. Concerns have also been raised about the impact on tourism.

“We are looking at all legal routes,” Mr Drax said. “We will look at any way we can stop this. Every angle is being looked at.”

Boats, according to the Tory MP, are “completely and utterly out of the question.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “The pressure on the asylum system has continued to grow and requires us to look at a range of accommodation options which offer better value for money for taxpayers than hotels.”

Local Conservatives were outraged when plans to use two ex-military bases and a former prison were announced last week.

Former Home Secretary Priti Patel is also assisting her local council in Essex in its efforts to prevent the Home Office from using RAF Wethersfield.

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