Minister vows to clear Cannock's migrant hotels

The Immigration Minister has vowed to clear asylum seekers out of hotels in Cannock amid rising community tensions over migrants.

Protesters gathered in Cannock town centre on Saturday
Protesters gathered in Cannock town centre on Saturday

Robert Jenrick faced questions from Cannock Chase MP Amanda Milling, who demanded a meeting with the minister to discuss residents' concerns over the use of two hotels to temporarily house asylum seekers.

It followed a demonstration in Cannock town centre at the weekend which saw protesters call on the Government to take a harder line on immigration.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Jenrick said he would work with Ms Milling to ensure the hotels were "cleared as quickly as possible".

Conservative MP Ms Milling told the Express & Star residents had raised a number of concerns, including the cost of using hotel accommodation, reports of anti-social and criminal behaviour and the impact on the local economy.

She said she was frustrated with the "lack of consultation" over the use of hotels, which are used to house migrants awaiting a decision on their asylum claims under a scheme run by Serco for the Home Office.

The MP said she was "deeply concerned about rising community tensions" that led to the weekend protest.

Cannock Chase MP Amanda Milling

She said: "The use of hotels is a contingency measure, in order to meet our statutory legal obligation to house asylum seekers whilst their claim is considered.

"The Government is taking steps to end the use of hotels and ensure that asylum seekers don’t cross the Channel in the first place.

"The UK does have a proud history of supporting those in need of protection, however we cannot tolerate people coming here illegally."

Ms Milling said new legislation would ensure that illegal immigrants would be "swiftly detained and removed" from the UK, and added: "We should treat all visitors to Cannock Chase with respect and compassion. Individuals that seek asylum in the UK may have been fleeing war, persecution, violence or other life-threatening situations.

"It is important that, as for any experiences of crime or anti-social behaviour, this is reported to the police who will deal with it properly and robustly.

"Similarly, they will take action against anyone makes inflammatory comments on social media or partakes in or incites vigilante action."

Saturday's demonstration was organised by residents concerned over rising crime and anti-social behaviour in areas around two hotels housing migrants. It drew a small counter-protest from people welcoming refugees.

It came after Staffordshire Police appealed for calm amid "unsubstantiated claims" – including that asylum seekers had followed young girls and attempted to steal a dog.

Across the West Midlands more than 20 hotels are being used to temporarily house migrants, including in Walsall, Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire.

The Home Office has repeatedly vowed to end the use of hotels for this purpose, but says the system is under increasing strain due to the high number of migrants arriving in Britain from across the Channel on small boats.

Most Read

Most Read

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News