|Hull's MPs: Diana Johnson, Emma Hardy and Karl Turner|
Hull City Council, which has been controlled by Labour since 2011, has publicly lashed out at the Home Office for deciding to house up to 200 asylum seekers at the city's Royal Hotel. Cllr Rosemary Pantelakis spoke to the Hull Daily Mail and she was keen to point out that the council had nothing to do with the decision to put the migrants in the hotel and that they objected to it: "We are keen that asylum seekers see Hull in the positive light that its residents do, as a friendly, welcoming city. The use of the Royal Hotel is nothing to do with Hull City Council. It is a private arrangement between Britannia Hotels, the Home Office and Mears. The council does not receive any financial income relating to these measures. We were informed of their plans and raised our objections to the use this site which we do not feel is appropriate, or has all the facilities".
Just to be clear, the Royal Hotel is a three star hotel based in the city centre, run by the Britannia chain and rated 'good' on Expedia and 'very good' on Booking.com. What is not 'appropriate' about it? What are the missing facilities? Cllr Pantelakis did not elaborate, but went on: "Supported by the three Hull MPs we raised these objections directly with ministers. The Home Office pressed ahead with their plans, with minor amendments. It is not acceptable that the views of those with administrative responsibilities for the city as well as the local knowledge and insight, can just be ignored by Government. Hull City Council is seeking to engage and meet with the provider and the hotelier to ensure we can be supportive. Our issues are with the Home Office and it is not the fault of those seeking asylum".
|The Royal Hotel|
Also keen to send out mixed messages to voters are Hull's Labour MPs - Emma Hardy, Diana Johnson and Karl Turner. Emma Hardy was more explicit about the impact migrants could have on the city: "Hull is a city of sanctuary and we have always offered support to asylum seekers, both through supporting formal national programmes and establishing local charities who support refugees facing persecution abroad. This government has given no consideration to this inappropriate placement. The number of people needing support has been increased without any thought of the wider impact on community cohesion and the resources needed to adequately help them".
This is a remarkable admission from a Labour MP. She accepts that an influx of migrants can potentially have a negative impact on community cohesion. Wow. Hardy goes on to suggest that it's not just the hotel that is 'inappropriate', but Hull itself: "The city centre is totally unsuitable for the vulnerable individuals concerned and for the city because of the ongoing control measures required by Covid-19. The Government made this decision even when Hull City Council and Diana Johnson, Karl Turner and I voiced our concerns about the suitability of the location for the vulnerable individuals concerned and for our city, but the Government refused to listen".
The hypocrisy is staggering, especially considering that these same MPs have repeatedly expressed support for so-called asylum seekers. In the last week Karl Turner has shared numerous tweets critical of a Home Office video in which immigration lawyers are slammed for preventing deportations. Earlier this month he retweeted a pro-migrant video with the caption: "The difference is luck". In January Emma Hardy condemned the government's stance on unaccompanied child migrants and wrote on her website: "The UK has always been a haven for refugees fleeing situations not of their making and to not allow unaccompanied children to seek refuge in the UK is heart-breaking news".
Diana Johnson has also expressed support for the UK to take in unaccompanied children (later, of course, to be joined by their families) - joining in a call back in March to take them directly from the Greece/Turkey border.
So this Labour trio appear to find it perfectly acceptable for Kent to be flooded with unaccompanied child migrants, while adult migrants are dispersed all over the country - but don't send them to Hull please! It smacks of NIMBYism and hypocrisy, but it is also a self serving tactic. Support for Labour crashed in the last general election as the Brexit Party polled strongly across the city. Two of the three Hull seats are now classed as marginals in a city that has returned nothing but Labour MPs since the 1950s.
Hardy, Johnson and Turner have an eye on the next election and if Nigel Farage can keep taking votes from Labour then their places on the Westminster gravy train could be under threat.
2019 General Election
Kingston upon Hull East
Karl Turner (Lab) 12,713 (39.2%) -19.1%
Rachel Storer (Con) 11,474 (35.4%) +5.5%
Marten Hall (Brexit) 5,764 (17.8%) New
Bob Morgan (LD) 1,707 (5.3%) +1.9%
Julia Brown (Green) 784 (2.4%) +1.1%
Kingston upon Hull North
Diana Johnson (Lab) 17,033 (49.8%) -14.0%
Holly Whitbread (Con) 9,440 (27.6%) +2.4%
Derek Abram (Brexit) 4,771 (13.9%) New
Mike Ross (LD) 2,084 (6.1%) +1.1%
Richard Howarth (Green) 875 (2.6%) +1.0%
Kingston upon Hull West & Hessle
Emma Hardy (Lab) 13,384 (42.0%) -11.1%
Scott Bell (Con) 10,528 (33.0%) +3.2%
Michelle Dewberry (Brexit) 5,638 (17.7%) New
David Nolan (LD) 1,756 (5.5%) -0.9%
Mike Lammiman (Green) 560 (1.8%) +0.8%