Braverman has ‘taken her eye off the ball and should resign’ as over-crowding and disease plague migrant centre, says Manston workers' rep

30 October 2022, 20:37 | Updated: 30 October 2022, 20:44

Andy Baxter represents staff at Manston processing centre

By Abbie Reynolds

Suella Braverman "has taken her eye off the ball" and "should resign", a representative for workers at a migrant processing centre - which has allegedly become massively overcrowded and plagued with infections - has told LBC.

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Home Secretary Suella Braverman is being scrutinised for allegedly ignoring legal advice and not putting the funding in place for migrant processing centres, which have led to the Manston centre in Kent plunging into overcrowding and a rapid spread of disease, according to reports.

Andy Baxter of the prison officers association, which represents staff at the Manston Processing Centre, spoke to LBC's Paul Brand and detailed the dire situation at that centre.

Read more: 'He was laughing while doing it': man who hurled petrol bombs at Dover migrant processing centre found dead

“Manston Processing Centre’s struggling to cope with the number of small boat crossings", he said. "There are some temporary emergency accommodations being put up to cope with the increasing numbers - it’s fairly grim."

Suella Braverman
Suella Braverman. Picture: Getty

He went on: “There’s no furniture, people are sleeping on plywood boards in what you’d call marquees.”

He said that “there have been eight confirmed cases to date [of diptheria], "three of those cases having been diagnosed within two days.

Mr Baxter explained how the circumstances they are facing could be unlawful: “We have got some serious concerns about the legality in relation to our members that work there.

Read more: Nearly 1,000 migrants arrive in UK in single day amid claims Suella ignored advice she was detaining people unlawfully

“We intend to write to the Home Office this week because people are usually held for 24 hours in a short-term holding facility, there are now people who’ve been there for almost up to a month.

People thought to be migrants arriving in Manston
People thought to be migrants arriving in Manston. Picture: Alamy

“We want some assurances from the Home Office, for our members, that there’ll be no comeback on members because we do believe there are issues on the legality of the length of time that people are being held.”

Paul pressed: “Is this a new issue are things deteriorating there?”

Mr Baxter said it was a new issue and that the centre had been set up to take the pressure off of the port of Dover “but simply over the summer it just hasn’t been able to cope with the number of people making the crossings”.

A migrant carries a child as he runs to board a smuggler's boat on the beach of Gravelines, near Dunkirk, northern France on October 12, 2022
A migrant carries a child as he runs to board a smuggler's boat on the beach of Gravelines, near Dunkirk, northern France on October 12, 2022. Picture: Getty

He described the emergency temporary accommodation as a long marquee with plywood floors.

He believes “the Home Secretary has taken her eye off of the ball over the summer,” and that may be a result of “everyone concentrating on things that have been going on in the Tory party”.

There are “tough decisions that need to be made,” Mr Baxter told Paul.

Migrants carry a smuggling boat on their shoulders as they prepare to embark
Migrants carry a smuggling boat on their shoulders as they prepare to embark. Picture: Getty

The interview concluded with the representative saying: “At present, no I don’t have confidence in the Home secretary…I think she should resign”

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