Minister admits 200 child asylum-seekers are missing from UK hotels as Home Office called for crisis talks

25 January 2023, 00:55 | Updated: 25 January 2023, 07:34

Brighton and Hove councillors have requested an urgent meeting with the Home Office after the government confirmed 78 young asylum-seekers remain missing from UK hotels
Brighton and Hove councillors have requested an urgent meeting with the Home Office after the government confirmed 78 young asylum-seekers remain missing from UK hotels. Picture: LBC / Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A minister has admitted that 200 child asylum-seekers are missing from government-run hotels, prompting Brighton council leader to request crisis talks with the Home Office.

Asylum seekers are increasingly being placed in hotels run by the Home Office following the controversies surrounding conditions in the now defunct Manston immigration centre in Kent.

Labour councillor at Brighton and Hove City Council Bella Sankey told LBC's Nick Ferrari this morning that 136 people children have gone missing from one Hove hotel in particular - around 25 per cent of the entire number of migrant children sent there.

She told Nick: "It is sickening. It is absolutely stunning that this has been allowed to happen. We know that 76 of those children are still unaccounted for."

She also warned that criminal gangs are targeting migrant children at the hotel and being taken into the "criminal underworld".

"I was staggered that [the hotel] was being opened," she continued. "There were children hanging out of the window."

Councillor warns 'gangs' are targeting hotels housing vulnerable asylum-seeking children

Home Office minister Simon Murray addressed the House of Lords on Monday, telling peers one girl and at least 13 under-16s were among those missing.

On Tuesday, immigration minister Robert Jenrick admitted in the Commons that out of 4,600 unaccompanied minors who have entered the UK since July 2021, 440 have gone missing at some point.

He added that only half of those missing had returned.

"Two hundred children remain missing, 13 of whom are under 16 years old, and only one is female," he told the House.

"When any child goes missing, a multi-agency missing persons protocol is mobilised alongside the police and relevant local authority to establish their whereabouts and to ensure that they are safe."

Read more: Met police officers lured Down Under by '£47,000 pay and six weeks' holiday'

Read more: Transgender woman found guilty of raping two women when she was a man

It comes as one MP described a police chase which took place after two children were "collected" from a hotel in the Brighton and Hove area.

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove, explained how officers had been alerted to the vehicle after it took the children from the Home Office approved accommodation.

"Two hundred children remain missing, 13 of whom are under 16 years old, and only one is female," Jenrick told the House.
"Two hundred children remain missing, 13 of whom are under 16 years old, and only one is female," Jenrick told the House. Picture: LBC / Alamy

Speaking about the incident, Mr Kyle told the Commons: "Just last year, Sussex Police pursued a car that had collected two children from outside this hotel.

"When they managed to get the car to safety, they released two child migrants and they arrested one of the members who was driving it - who was a gang leader who was there to coerce the children into crime."

During Jenrick's speech to the House, the MP noted that 88% of those missing were Albanian nationals, with the remaining 12% being from Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Turkey.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Liz Colfer says pension taxation misses the mark.

Why pension taxation proposals miss the mark

It follows a sharp rise in the number of abusive messages sent via the bank's app.

Santander bans swear words when sending money after abusers use 1p bank transfers to bypass restraining orders

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reacts after the announcement of the vote at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Ursula von Der Leyen wins second term as top EU leader

Sir Ed Davey has been criticised for his time as Post Office minister

Ed Davey says sorry for taking five months to meet Alan Bates and says ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells ‘fed me lies’

The original Bacchus by Giambologna sits in the Bargello museum in Florence

Former Italian cultural minister defends woman who simulated sex with beloved Florence statue

Formal talkjs will begin next week in a bid to end long-running junior doctors strike

Government to begin formal talks with junior doctors to end long-running pay row

Jay Slater and his mum, Debbie Duncan

Jay Slater's mum appeals for funeral donations to give son the 'send-off he deserves'

File photo dated 26/07/23 of Andrew Malkinson. The Criminal Cases Review Commission has offered an 'unreserved apology' for failing Malkinson, who spent 17 years in prison for being wrongly convicted of rape. Issue date: Thursday April 18, 2024.

Wrongly imprisoned Andrew Malkinson 'could have been freed a decade earlier', watchdog finds

Taylor Swift plays to 60,000 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Police arrest suspected Taylor Swift stalker moments before concert kicks off

Pret A Manger has overhauled its coffee subscription plan

Fury as Pret scraps 'too good to be true' £30-a-month coffee subscription in favour of new scheme

Di Prima has been axed from Strictly Come Dancing amid the allegations against him.

Axed Strictly star Graziano Di Prima returns to £6 an hour job amid allegations he 'hit and kicked' dance partner Zara McDermott

British trainee barrister, 26, goes missing in Majorca after flatmate 'threatens to have men sort him out'

British trainee barrister, 26, goes missing in Majorca after flatmate 'threatens to have men sort him out'

The government 'failed its citizens', the Covid Inquiry has found

Government ‘failed its citizens’, Covid Inquiry finds as ‘major overhaul’ of emergency planning needed

Keir Starmer has been welcoming EU leaders at the European Political Community summit in Oxfordshire

Starmer warns ‘criminal empire is at work’ as he urges European leaders to tackle people smuggling ‘crisis’

Both of them received community orders

Two asylum seekers who stole £25k gold Rolex in London's Soho allowed to walk free

It doesn't have to be that warm for your sleep to be affected

Revealed: the temperature that means you may not be sleeping well as UK gripped by heatwave