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Home Secretary ‘to look at’ claims forty Bibby Stockholm migrants are converting to Christianity
5 February 2024, 09:43 | Updated: 5 February 2024, 09:49
A minister told LBC this morning that potentially spurious bids to remain in the UK are "one of the difficult aspects" of the asylum process.
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Education Secretary Gillian Keegan spoke to Nick Ferrari, after it emerged forty asylum seekers aboard the Bibby Stockholm are converting to Christianity - as fears grow that some are using conversion as a means of staying in the UK.
She said the Home Secretary will be 'looking at' the details of the cases of people converting to Christianity on board the migrant barge, which is docked in Dorset.
Ms Keegan was asked on Call the Cabinet on LBC: “Should we take those applications in good faith?”
She said: "This is part of what the Home Secretary will look at the details in and particularly look at that aspect of the system.
“This is the difficulty with asylum, every aspect of it. If you say you’re persecuted because of a particular reason, it’s very difficult often to get proof of that.
“It is one of the difficult aspects of asylum. That is why we are trying to say, if you enter illegally, you won’t be allowed to stay.”
Nearly one-in-seven of the 300-strong contingent aboard the flagship asylum barge moored in Dorset are going to church under the supervision of church leaders, according to the Daily Telegraph.
This news comes after the revelation that Abdul Ezedi, who is suspected of injuring several in the Clapham chemical attack last week, was successful in his third asylum claim after a priest vouched for his conversion to Christianity.
Tracking expert explains how Abdul Ezedi may be evading capture by police
Ezedi was granted asylum in Britain despite having been twice convicted of sexual offences three years earlier.
The manhunt for Ezedi is entering its fourth day - after police yesterday launched a £20,000 reward for information leading to the Afghan native.
The force said it believes there are people who know where Abdul Ezedi is but have not come forward, and they have been threatened with arrest.
In an update, police also said they have narrowed down the substance used against a woman, leaving her with life-changing injuries, and issued new CCTV from Wednesday.
Commander Jon Savell said: "I am hugely grateful to the public for the significant number of calls that we have received.
"Your help is critical. A reward of up to £20,000 is now available for information leading to his arrest.
"I must warn anyone who is helping Ezedi to evade capture - if you are harbouring or assisting him then you will be arrested.
"Our inquiry line is staffed 24/7 by specialist detectives who are progressing enquiries around-the-clock. If you know where he is or have information that may assist call them now."
A nationwide manhunt has been launched to find Ezedi, 35, originally from Afghanistan, who travelled down from Newcastle to London on Wednesday.