I have received a response from the Home Office to the many questions which I have raised, on my own behalf, and on behalf of residents, about the proposed Northeye asylum centre.
I am attaching these answers, which you will find below this message, given my commitment to ensuring that all information I received is disclosed and transparent. I do not find that the answers adequately address the questions raised. Additionally, the detail is not consistent with what has been stated previously. I am therefore seeking an urgent meeting with the officials at the Home Office to ensure we have complete, consistent and relevant answers to these questions. I recognise, and share, the frustration at the lack of clarity given we have all been waiting for some time to receive a response.
In addition to seeking answers, I will also be asking when local statutory agencies will be given meeting time with the Home Office to allow these local bodies to carry out their responsibilities. Since the meeting I chaired on 12 April, where we were assured that there would be further engagement, there have been no further meetings held.
I have continued to hold a dialogue with the Immigration Minister and I am attaching a holding letter from him to me. I intend to discuss the situation further with colleagues in Government when Parliament returns next week.
I have met with residents adjacent to the proposed site and with community groups involved in this matter. As I have previously committed, when a decision is made to advance this centre, and we know in what form it will be, I will engage in a wider public event. I have said that I will do so and I will. Until such time, I do not have the clarity or certainty to deliver information beyond what you will find on my website.
I have been asked why I did not attend the meeting organised by Bexhill Town Council on Wednesday 26 April. The reason is because I was in Parliament to pass the Illegal Migration Bill. I was therefore voting that evening to stop small boats and make the crossings illegal. I was not given advance notice of the meeting. I was just invited at the same time the public were invited. I asked for my absence to be explained to the meeting and offered some words to be read out. This offer was not taken up and I am told that when questions were asked as to why I had to be in Parliament, my explanation was not passed on.. This is incredibly frustrating and just increases the temperature. I therefore repeat my commitment that I will hold my own meeting when there are firm plans to discuss.
Once I have held my meeting in the Home Office, and received complete answers to the questions posed, I will send these around again. I am sorry that the information sought is not yet obtained.