Author: Jack Montgomery
Local authorities in the north-east of England are declining to house criminal migrants, citing dangers to “social cohesion”.
Councils associated with the North-East Migration Partnership (NEMP) have come to an agreement with the Home Office that they need not accommodate “foreign nationals with known criminality”, according to the left-liberal Guardian — which goes on to quote lawyers who believe the policy is “discriminatory”.
In particular, the newspaper raises the case of a migrant “who had claimed and been refused asylum, who had committed a criminal offence… [but] was still locked up six months after a court had ordered he be released on bail”, citing his lawyer Sheroy Zaq, of Duncan Lewis Solicitors.
The Guardian quotes a note from the Home Office to Zaq, explaining why his client was refused housing in the north-east:
On 2 May 2018 a property was offered by G4S in the Newcastle area. However, due to an agreement between the Home Office and local authorities in the north-east region to not house any foreign nationals with known criminality in the north-east because of ongoing social cohesion issues in the area, the property request was cancelled with G4S (the Home Office’s accommodation provider in the area) on 25 May 2018.
“The existence of this agreement must be seen as the home secretary bowing down to the repugnant, Islamophobic demands of the far right,” the lawyer insisted.
But Labour MP Julie Elliott, who represents the north-east city of Sunderland, had previously written to the Home Office asking them to stop settling migrants in the Brexit-leaning, historically working-class community, saying it was leading to “tensions”.
Leftist councillor Niall Hodson, of the Liberal Democrats, appeared to take a similar stance to Zaq, claiming this was “a very dangerous path to take”.
“They say they are speaking on behalf of the people of Sunderland but they do not speak for the majority,” he added — although he did not explain how he had determined that a majority of residents are in favour of housing rejected asylum seekers with criminal backgrounds.
The aforementioned North-East Migration Partnership (NEMP) appeared to confirm that an agreement not to take certain asylum seekers on social grounds existed, with a spokeswoman explaining: “In Late 2017, the NEMP communicated to the Home Office the collective concerns of individual local authorities regarding pressures associated with asylum dispersal in their areas.”
She added: “There have been a number of different concerns raised by local authorities in the north-east, some of which relate to social cohesion matters highlighted by local policing teams.”