Peter Kyle slammed Robert Jenrick over asylum-seeking children
A Labour MP made a powerful point in the Commons on Thursday over the asylum-seeing children who have gone missing in the UK, while lambasting the government’s “ignorant” approach.
The government admitted this week that 200 of these vulnerable children have gone missing from temporary hotel accommodation – some of whom are under 16.
When a member of the Green Party called immigration minister Robert Jenrick to parliament to explain these reports, Labour’s shadow Northern Ireland secretary, Peter Kyle, took aim.
He said he received just a couple of hours’ notice that 76 unaccompanied children were going to be placed in a hotel within his constituency of Hove.
The Labour MP then went to visit this accommodation, and told the Commons, “to suggest that these are specialist facilities is ignorant,” after the minister claimed the government was still fulfilling its obligation to protect their children.
Kyle continued: ″In the days afterwards, I saw for myself and met the children there, but some of them were extremely vulnerable, vulnerable themselves emotionally, vulnerable if they should leave the premises to coerced into crime.
″So I contacted the council, I contacted the police, I contacted the social services, I contacted his department in the home office – the only organisation which responded I believe effectively and with the kind of seriousness that we expect, was Sussex police.
″But they lacked the facilities and the resources and the powers to do the job that needs to be done.
“It’s incorrect to say that these children have not been coerced into crime because just last year, Sussex police pursued a car that had collected two children from outside this hotel.
“When they managed to get this car to safety, they released two child migrants, and arrested one of the men who were driving it, who was a gang leader, who was there to coerce the children into crime.”
He continued: “I accept that if one of the uncomfortable truths for us is if one child, who was related to one of us in this room, went missing, the world would stop.
″But in the community I represent, a child has gone missing, then five went missing, then a dozen went missing, then 50 went missing, and currently today 76 are missing and nothing is happening.
″So my question to the minister is, when I visit the hotel the next time in the coming days, what will be different than before?
″If nothing is different they are going to continue to go missing.”
Jenrick confirmed during the urgent question that 13 of the 200 missing children were under 16 years old, and one was female, and around 88% of those missing came from Albania.
He claimed: “The movements of under-18s in and out of hotels are monitored and reported and they’re accompanied by social workers when attending organised activities.”
“We have no power to detain unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in these settings,” he added.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas also lashed out at Jenrick over the asylum-seeking children.
“This is horrific. Vulnerable children are being dumped by the home office. Scores of them are going missing...we are asking the Home Office to apply some basic safeguarding so we can keep them safe.”
Prime minister Rishi Sunak is facing intense criticism over his handling of immigration.
One group of critics believes he is not protecting the UK from the “illegal” migrants who arrive on British shores in small boats and another thinks the government is not processing the “legal” migrants appropriately.