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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Adam Robertson

GB News presenter calls for asylum-seeking children to be put in 'secure camps'

A SCOTTISH refugee charity has slammed a GB News presenter's call for migrant children to be placed in "secure camps" as "dehumanising". 

This comes after an investigation revealed 76 asylum-seeking children have gone missing from Home Office-run accommodation.

Andrew Pierce, who has contributed to the Daily Mail and Sky News, said in a tweet that the situation was “proof” that no “migrants should be in hotels”.

MPs from Brighton and Hove voiced concerns about vulnerable children being “dumped by the Home Office” in hotels in the area amid reports that dozens have been kidnapped by gangs.

Home Office minister Robert Jenrick defended the security presence at the hotel run by his department, but said he has asked those running it and council officials to respond to the “very serious allegations” of children being abducted outside it.

Jenrick said he had “not been presented with evidence that that has happened” but that he would continue to investigate the matter.

Scottish charity Refugee Survival Trust condemned Pierce’s tweet, describing it as “inexcusable and dehumanising”.  

In a statement given to The National, the group added: “We were also appalled to read that a Home Office official stated that children had not been kidnapped, they were simply ‘free to leave the hotels’.

“This is a new low and everyone should be concerned about this government’s approach to upholding human rights.

“The UK Government is shamefully failing to safeguard and promote the welfare and safety of children, in line with legislation.

“The government should end the detention of children and seek to protect them and their human rights.”

Asked about Pierce’s comments, Glasgow City Councillor Roza Salih echoed the charity's thoughts. 

She told The National: “I do not agree with the idea of camps. Children asylum seekers are the most vulnerable people who are seeking asylum and should be taken care of. 

“We have the responsibility under the UN charter of the child’s right to do so. This is not the way to integrate asylum children and this is not the way to integrate them into our society and our way of living. 

“It’s unclear how the Home Office is taking care of vulnerable asylum children but camps are not the way forward.”

Many on Twitter slammed Pierce for his tweet with one calling on him to “think about that statement for a few minutes”.

Another added that they were “REALLY not comfortable” with the term “secure camps” while someone else said the situation was “proof we need a decent government to sort out the problem”.

An Observer investigation cited child protection sources and a whistleblower working for a Home Office contractor as describing how youngsters were abducted off the street outside a hotel in Brighton and bundled into cars.

Speaking in the Commons, Labour MP Peter Kyle said his community was only given a couple of hours’ notice that 96 unaccompanied children were going to be placed in a hotel.

He said he saw some of the children were “extremely vulnerable” both emotionally and to being “coerced into crime” if they left the premises.

Meanwhile, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas asked how many children had been “kidnapped, trafficked, put into forced labour”, where the children are and if they were in school.

She said the children were being left in “legal limbo”. In his response, Jenrick said the Home Office was “prepared to take legal as well as practical responsibility”.

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