The Home Office has hit back at Blackpool Council who have criticised the decision made by the Government department to house more than 220 asylum seekers in a Blackpool hotel.
It was announced on Tuesday that the Metropole Hotel on the Promenade will be receiving 223 asylum seekers by the end of the week, and Blackpool Council said it had not been consulted on the proposals.
The leader, Coun Lynn Williams, said the Home Office ‘refused to listen to reason or answer basic questions’.
The decision to house asylum seekers – who continue to sail across the Channel in their hundreds – in a prominent seafront hotel was also described as a “panic measure” and “disproportionate and damaging” by the resort’s two Tory MPs, Paul Maynard and Scott Benton, who yesterday rounded on their own Government.
The Metropole Hotel is being used to house 223 asylum seekers by the end of the week
A spokesman for the Home Office, overseen by Home Secretary Priti Patel, said: “These claims are incorrect. The Home Office wrote to the chief executive of Blackpool Council and the local MPs on the planned use of the Metropole hotel on 25 August.
“The council replied to us on 27 August and we submitted a written response yesterday
“All the hotels the Home Office uses must meet relevant health and safety legislation and provide their latest health and safety risk assessment.”
MPs Scott Benton and Paul Maynard have criticised the decision
Former MP Gordon Marsden has also hit out at the Government, saying that this has been done before.
He said: “This is a badly thought out and potentially dangerous move – where the Home Office has completely ignored the protests and warnings of Blackpool council and the welfare of the town , its people and businesses , and the needs of the asylum seekers themselves.
“The Home Office has had past form on this .When I was chair of a seaside and coastal towns group in Parliament back in the 2000s , their officials tried to move many 100s of refugees and asylum seekers to Blackpool and other coastal and seaside towns , and I led a delegation of our MP members to the Minister who reversed the decision.”
Britannia Hotels, who run the Metropole Hotel, has been contacted by The Gazette on three occasions now but a response to questions has still not been received.
The hotel chain also operates the Blackpool Grand, Norbreck Castle and Savoy across the resort.