MPs call for inquiry into deaths of three asylum seekers

The politicians believe an inquiry would address 'escalating public concerns' and potentially prevent further tragedies.

MPs call for inquiry into deaths of three asylum seekers

Glasgow’s seven MPs have called for a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the deaths of three asylum seekers in the city over the last few months.

In a letter to the Lord Advocate, the group suggests an inquiry would address “escalating public concerns” and hope to prevent further tragedies.

Chris Stephens, Glasgow South West MP and lead signature of the letter, said the first case was Adnan Elbi in the McLays Guest House while another person was found dead in a park.

The third death came last month when Mercy Baguma, who was originally from Uganda and seeking asylum in the UK, was found dead in the hallway of her Glasgow flat with son Adriel alone in his cot.

Stephens said on BBC radio: “I believe that a fatal accident inquiry, which is what was requested, may very well find that the key thread going through it is the challenges of the asylum system and how asylum seekers have been treated during Covid-19.

“Certainly we know that there is no vulnerability assessments being carried out in relation to two of the cases, we know that Mercy was due to move to other accommodation [from the Mears Group] a couple of days before she was phoned.

“Our view is that there is a clear thread and that is how the asylum process and system is treating asylum seekers.

“We’ve seen evidence that the BAME community have suffered most during Covid, we know in some of these circumstances people feel when they’ve been placed in other accommodation that they feel as if they’re going through another detention.

“We certainly feel that the lack of monies been given to asylum seekers is exacerbating poverty and destitution for asylum seekers in Glasgow.”

Stephens added that asylum seekers are entitled to just £37-a-week but suggested those in hotel accommodation do not receive any money.

However, this has previously been denied by the Mears Group contractor and the Home Office, with minister Chris Philp saying in July he would be urgently reviewing concerns over housing asylum seekers in hotels in the wake of the incident at the Park Inn Hotel the previous month.

Badreddin Abadlla Adam from Sudan was shot dead by police after his attack at the West George Street hotel in June which left six people injured including a police constable.

Stephens added: “I think the public do want to know what is going on here.

“We can’t rely on the Home Office – they claim that they’re carrying out an internal evaluation but won’t tell us if that’ll be published, won’t tell us if MPs will have an opportunity to raise in the floor of the House of Commons with ministers the outcome of that evaluation.

“Certainly we feel there’s a public interest here to find out what has caused these deaths and whether the asylum system itself is partly responsible.”

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