A Home Office minister has criticised the “cheek” of complaints about processing centres from people who have entered the UK illegally.
Chris Philp made the comment amid chaos at Manston migrant base in Kent, where at one point as many as 4,000 people were being detained for weeks in a site intended to hold 1,600 for a matter of days.
The policing minister also described the centre as legally compliant days after immigration minister Robert Jenrick suggested it was not.
Philp told Times Radio: “If people choose to enter a country illegally, and unnecessarily, it is a bit, you know, it’s a bit of a cheek to then start complaining about the conditions when you’ve illegally entered a country without necessity.”
He added that people who had passed through other countries in Europe “don’t even have to come here”, and described the numbers as “overwhelming”.
“We’re spending something like two or three billion pounds a year looking after people who have entered the country illegally and unnecessarily,” he said.
“I think, frankly, that is pretty generous, actually… our asylum accommodation is better than most European countries.”
Home secretary Suella Braverman has come under increasing pressure over conditions for those arriving in the UK via the English channel.
She is facing threats of legal action, sexual assault allegations at a hotel housing asylum seekers and international criticism of her use of language.
This comes after a group of refugees from Manston were left at Victoria station in central London on Tuesday without accommodation, appropriate clothing or money.
Westminster City Council said its rough sleeping service had offered hotel spaces to 11 of these people, and seven had taken up the offer.
On Friday the council said it was trying to get the group to Lunar House in Croydon to be assessed by Home Office officials.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Home Secretary has taken urgent decisions to alleviate issues at Manston using all the legal powers available and sourcing alternative accommodation.
“The welfare of those in our care is of the utmost importance and asylum seekers are only released from Manston when they have assured us that they have accommodation to go to – to suggest otherwise is wrong and misleading.”
Braverman, who was reinstated to her ministerial post just over a week ago, met Border Force teams in Dover to discuss Channel crossings operations before visiting the scandal-hit Manston processing centre to hear updates from staff.
Downing Street said the number has since reduced to 2,700, after more than 1,000 were moved in the last few days, and that the Prime Minister was receiving twice daily updates on the situation.
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