Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader and Home Affairs spokesperson, Liz Saville Roberts MP, has today (Monday, March 8) said that a damning report into the use of a military barracks in Pembrokeshire shows the Home Office’s “disregard for human health and dignity” and called for the camp to be closed “without delay”.
She said that the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, should “consider her position” over the report’s findings.
The Penally camp has been used by the Home Office to accommodate people seeking asylum in the UK since September last year.
The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI), a UK Government body, carried out the two-day inspection into the site, as well as Napier barracks in Kent, with officers from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP).
Its report, released today, describes both sites as “impoverished, run-down and unsuitable for long-term accommodation”.
The report says that the “vast majority” of respondents at Penally camp “described feeling depressed and hopeless at their circumstances”.
It highlights how both Public Health Wales and Public Health England expressed concerns about the COVID-safety of the accommodation, but both sites opened before their recommendations had been actioned.
The report also says that “local stakeholders who needed to set up essential services for residents, such as healthcare, were not consulted in advance”.
Ms Saville Roberts had asked the Home Secretary about consultation with the local community on February 8, to which the Home Secretary had responded “We consult with everybody—I can assure the right hon. Lady”.
It also describes “fundamental failures of leadership and planning by the Home Office”.
Ms Saville Roberts said that those failures “cannot, must not be allowed to continue” and that Priti Patel “must consider her position.”
Liz Saville Roberts MP said: “This absolutely damning report shows the Home Office’s disregard for human health and dignity. Penally camp must be closed down without delay.
“Since September, Plaid Cymru have been raising concerns about the unsafe and unsanitary conditions at Penally. Time and time again, the Home Office have arrogantly brushed off our concerns.
“Only last month, I asked the Home Secretary about the lack of consultation with local stakeholders in Penally. She responded that the Home Office ‘consult with everybody’. Yet we see confirmation today, in black and white, that this was not true – no such consultation took place.
“The ‘fundamental failures of leadership’ criticised by this report cannot, must not be allowed to continue. The Home Secretary must consider her position.”