Two migrant groups left stranded at Victoria station after ‘misunderstanding’, says minister

Two migrant groups who crossed the English Channel were left stranded in London after a “misunderstanding” with UK officials, a minister has said.

Speaking on Friday, policing minister Chris Philp said a mistake had been made by officials from the Home Office who had been told the migrants had somewhere to stay.

On Tuesday, a group of migrants were transported from Manston, the Kent processing facility which is facing severe overcrowding, and taken to London to stay with friends or family.

However, around 11 of the group had nowhere to go and were left stranded at Victoria coach station.

Speaking to Sky News Mr Philp said migrants from the groups had told Government officials they had relatives or friends they could stay with which “turned out not to be the case”.

He then added: “Clearly that understanding was not accurate and quite how that arose, I don’t know.

“But clearly, they have now all been looked after.”

Commenting on the Manston centre Mr Philp said there is a “huge challenge” in tackling the number of people crossing the Channel on small boats and that new legislation is needed to address the issue.

Westminster City Council said its rough sleeping service had offered hotel spaces to 11 of the people left stranded at Victoria coach station earlier in the week, and seven had taken up the offer.

The council said it was trying to get the group to Lunar House in Croydon to be assessed by Home Office officials.

The leader of the local authority Adam Hug said the increasing number of refugees in Westminster hotels was putting pressure on local medical services and called for a “humane and organised” response to the immigration crisis.

On Thursday, Home Secretary Suella Braverman met with Border Force teams on Thursday to discuss Channel crossings operations and then went to the Manston processing centre to speak to staff and receive an update on the overcrowding crisis.

She has come under mounting political pressure over the illegal conditions at the site near Ramsgate, where around 3,500 people have been detained for weeks. The site is intended to hold 1,600 for just a matter of days.