The decision to halt plans to set up an asylum seeker processing center in a small Yorkshire village has raised key questions for the next Prime Minister.
Should they stick with Boris Johnson’s troubled new immigration plan? And should Priti Patel remain Home Secretary?
In the spring, Johnson announced the policy document led by two key proposals: send thousands of asylum seekers across the English Channel to Rwanda; and to set up an effective new ‘one-stop-shop’ to deal with newcomers to the UK seeking asylum.
Ministers wanted an alternative to hotel accommodation, which was expensive and could all too easily be portrayed as “cushy” by right-wing commentators.
Although the Home Office did not reveal the cost of setting up the center in Linton-on-Ouse, officials said a stand-alone reception center would represent better value for money than the hotels.
Johnson told reporters the plan to set up a new center at the former RAF base in North Yorkshire was key to implementing the government’s deal with Rwanda and stopping the death of refugees in the Channel .
“You can’t do economic partnership and immigration in Rwanda unless you have an arrangement like this, a reception center somewhere,” he said.
But other conservatives, even those who support the Rwandan plan, were horrified. Kevin Hollinrake, the MP for Thirsk and Malton who represents Linton-on-Ouse, told LBC in May that the announcement was made solely on the basis of the availability of the RAF site at the time the announcement was due to be made “to coincide with the announcement of the Rwandan policy”. ”.
Ten weeks later, no asylum seekers have yet been sent to Rwanda and the policy will be up for judicial review in the fall.
Interior Ministry sources say officials should look for a Greek-style reception center for asylum seekers. Ben Wallace, the Defense Secretary, raised the possibility that four other unused MoD properties could still be used when announcing the Linton plan.
Ministers ignored criticism from organizations such as the World Health Organization, which claimed that immigration detention centers breach international law. But so far, the successfully implemented parts of the government’s “new plan for immigration” are not making headlines.
Authorities have introduced a new case-handling system which redefines the treatment of people arriving in the UK between those who arrive by a “safe and legal route” and those who do not.
But whether Patel can withstand another failed immigration ad is another matter.
She faced a barrage of criticism in March over her department’s handling of the Ukraine crisis. His former right-wing allies in the Conservative Party are growing increasingly infuriated by promised initiatives – such as turning back migrant boats across the Channel to France – which have never materialized.