The Conservative MP for the Linton-On-Ouse area has told a public meeting in the village that it’s quite difficult to find anyone in Government to take ownership of the controversial decision.
Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, said he had raised the issue, housing 1500 male asylum seekers at the RAF base north of York, with the home secretary, Priti Patel, and she had said it wasn’t her idea.
“Quite extraordinary really, I have been pushing Priti Patel pretty hard on the problems with having a reception centre here. At which point in time, and I have only shared this with one or two people, she came back and said actually it wasn’t my decision.
“It was Steve Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office.
“So I went to him and said you know, what on earth are you doing. And he came back to me to point the finger straight back at the Home Secretary.
“I do think that is quite an opportunity too, with nobody strongly defending the decision to put this facility here, I think there’s more chances of us resisting the plans completely.”
The MP said if it couldn’t be stopped then they must fight for mitigating measures like the promised 24/7 police presence and better lighting in the village.
He also made a joke about the planned visit to the base by Priti Patel.
He said: “It’s not clear when but that will be under the cover of darkness or something”
There were laughs in the hall from the people attending the meeting and Mr Hollinrake went on to welcome the visit saying it would help her better understand the villager’s concerns.
The Government argues using the RAF base to house asylum seekers is better than spending money on hotels.
The local people against the plan say 1500 males in a village of 600 is just too much and they fear for both for their safety and the mental well-being of the men in an isolated rural village with poor transport links.
The Conservative MP also said that after the first 60 asylum seekers arrive at RAF Linton at the end of May, he had been told there would then be a delay of up to 8 weeks before more came to the base.