‘Listen to the facts not your jaded views’ Priti Patel slaps down shaking head Labour MP
Priti Patel hits out at Labour MP Sultana for ‘jaded’ views
Priti Patel insisted Ms Sultana should “listen to the facts” when she said the Government has followed Public Health England’s guidance throughout the Covid pandemic. Ms Sultana raised the housing of “hundreds” of asylum seekers at decommissioned army barracks in Kent in “disgraceful, inhumane conditions”.
She said: “Social distancing and self-isolation are therefore impossible.
“Now 100 people in the camp, that’s one in four have tested positive for Covid, one in 20 are on suicide watch.
“Will the Home Secretary now respect the rights and dignity of these people, close these camps and provide good, safe and liveable housing instead?”
Ms Patel said the accommodation was of a “very strong” standard, adding the sites “are in line with PHE guidance”.
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Ms Patel replied: “The accommodation facilities that we are using are military bases that are of very strong standard so much so they were housing our servicemen and women prior to being made available to asylum seekers.
“The reason why the base was made available, in line with PHE guidelines, was because of coronavirus we need space of social distancing. We have always worked with the PHE guidance.
“I can see the honourable lady shaking her head, perhaps she would like to listen to the facts and not some of the jaded views she may hold herself.”
It comes as passengers arriving in England from high-risk coronavirus hotspots look set to be made to quarantine in hotels to limit the spread of new variants.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson will discuss the proposals – designed to ensure people follow self-isolation rules – with senior ministers at the “Covid Operations” committee on Tuesday.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi warned that the country needs to be “very careful” as new strains emerge, and said an announcement on the quarantine plans would be made later.
He told Sky News: “There will be an announcement on this issue later on today, so I can only say to you that it is the right thing to do, because I am the Vaccines Minister, that as we vaccinate more of the adult population, if there are new variants like the South African or the Brazilian variants, we need to be very careful.
“We acted on those very quickly and of course dealt with travel from those countries, and from Portugal and elsewhere, rapidly so it is important we continue to review our border policy and an announcement will be made when a decision has been taken.
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“And of course the industry itself will be engaged with heavily, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock engaging with the industry to explain the decision making at health, as well as of course the business department with the Business Secretary.”
Ms Patel declined to comment on “speculation” about quarantine hotels as she answered an urgent question in the Commons.
But she said the Government “will not hesitate to take further action” to protect the UK from new strains, and said “measures are always under review”.
Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said Labour wanted a “comprehensive hotel quarantine system with protections to secure us against new strains”.
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