Linton on Ouse asylum seeker processing centre 'pivotal for Rwanda plan,' Boris Johnson says

Controversial plans for a new asylum seeker processing centre in a small North Yorkshire village are pivotal to “delivering” the Government's Rwanda deal, which aims to stop deaths during Channel crossings, Boris Johnson has suggested.

Mr Johnson said the new centre, which is being planned for a former RAF base in Linton-on-Ouse, is required to deliver the Government's new wider approach to immigration which includes sending some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

"We’ve got to stop people dying in the Channel and we need a solution," he said.

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It comes after the local council said they are planning a legal challenge to the proposals, which could see up to 1,500 asylum seekers housed in the accommodation.

The former RAF base in Linton-on-OuseThe former RAF base in Linton-on-Ouse
The former RAF base in Linton-on-Ouse

Asked about the legal challenge being considered in North Yorkshire, Mr Johnson told the Yorkshire Post: “We’re prepared for legal challenges.

“We expect there will be legal challenges to the Rwanda business.

“Of course people will try and stop it, but we’ve got to stop people dying in the Channel and we need a solution.”

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Members of the community in Linton on Ouse have raised their concerns about the centre and have previously said they were not at all involved in the decision making process prior to the announcement last month.

Asked about whether the needs of the local area had been considered in the planning, Mr Johnson said: ”We have got to have something that enables us to deliver on the Rwanda deal.

“The Rwanda deal is absolutely crucial.

“You can't do the Rwanda immigration and economic partnership unless you have some arrangement of this kind; some reception centre somewhere.”

Last week Hambleton District Council said it has now asked lawyers to start mounting a legal challenge to the proposal.

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Dr Justin Ives, the council’s chief executive, said the decision had been made after the Government’s decision to “press ahead” with the plans despite a “lack of consultation” with residents.

He said: “We have been carefully listening to what local communities have been saying about the potential impact on Linton-on-Ouse, surrounding communities and our district in general.

“We now understand from subsequent conversations this week, that the Government has every intention of pressing ahead with the plans.

“In response to this, Hambleton District Council has instructed lawyers to start work on mounting a legal challenge of the Government’s decision.”