Lewis Goodall 6pm - 9pm
Migrants in standoff with Home Office after being ‘made to live four per room’ in central London hotel
2 June 2023, 16:54 | Updated: 3 June 2023, 03:11
Multiple asylum seekers have been “left on the street” after falling into a dispute with the Home Office about their temporary hotel accommodation.
A group of about 40 migrants refused an offer to stay in Pimlico hotel, the Comfort Inn, after they were asked to sleep “four people in a room” made for two on Wednesday.
The group were moved from their single rooms with en-suite bathrooms in Essex to the central London hotel with little notice and told they were going to move to a "better place".
But now members of the asylum group have taken to camping on the street outside hotel, instead of in it, as they protest the standard of the rooms offered by the hotel.
The group even barricaded the entrance of the accommodation with a wall of suitcases and bags at one point in demonstration against the conditions.
Images of those outside the hotel show them holding signs reading “this is a prison, not a hotel”, “help us”, and “inhuman conditions, dirty rooms”, as well as countless sleeping bags and luggage scattered across the surrounding pavement.
Westminster Council has written to the Home Office for answers, but no solution has yet been offered and multiple people remain on the street outside the hotel.
Rough sleeping organisations have been reportedly helping the group out.
A 21-year-old Channel migrant from Iran told the Telegraph: “They said we’re going to move you to another, better place. They gave us this postcode. When we checked on Google Maps, we said, oh this is very nice.
“But when you get in, it’s like a jail. And they treat you very, very bad. They treat you like an animal.”
The 21-year-old also said he's prepared to stay on the street for even a month if that’s what it takes to get an effective response from the Home Office.
Westminster Council leader Adam Hug wrote to Home Secretary Suella Braverman, where he criticised the situation for people who “are likely to have been through significant and traumatic events” and were being asked to share “an inappropriately sized room with multiple strangers.”
Mr Hug also said the council received no notice the asylum seekers were being moved to the borough, and that the situation “defies all common sense and basic decency”.
A spokesman for the Home Office said asylum accommodation is offered on a “no-choice basis” and that the hotel “meets all legal and contractural requirements”.
Some of those outside the hotel briefly attempted to block traffic on Belgrave Road, before being moved by Met Police.
A spokesman for the Met said officers were: “engaging with those involved and remain at the location in order to prevent any breach of the peace".