11 October 2023

Mayor loses fight with Government over migrant barge

11 October 2023

A local councillor has lost a High Court fight with Home Secretary Suella Braverman over the housing of asylum seekers on a barge.

Carralyn Parkes wanted to challenge the lawfulness of the use of the Bibby Stockholm barge in Portland Harbour, Dorset.

A judge ruled on Wednesday that Mrs Parkes, a member of Portland Town Council and the mayor of Portland, did not have an arguable case.

Mr Justice Holgate had considered arguments at a High Court hearing in London on Tuesday.

Mrs Parkes said she is “deeply concerned” by the Government’s “planned accommodation” on the Bibby Stockholm and had made challenges relating to planning and equality legislation.

Lawyers representing Mrs Braverman said Mrs Parkes’s claims should be dismissed.

Mrs Parkes, who is from Liverpool, argued housing asylum seekers on the barge was a “breach of planning control” and said there had not been “compliance” with environmental impact assessment duties.

She also argued Mrs Braverman had not complied with duties under the 2010 Equality Act.

Lawyers representing Mrs Braverman said the challenge was made to a decision taken in April to house “destitute asylum seekers on a specially adapted” barge.

They argued Mrs Parkes’s claim was “out of time”, “without merit” and said the judge should refuse to give permission for the challenge to proceed to a trial.

Government lawyers said the local planning authority did not think planning permission was required.

They also argued there was no “general principle” that housing “non-British asylum seekers” together on a vessel was “unlawful” under a public sector equality duty.

Mrs Parkes is represented by law firm DPG (Deighton Pierce Glynn).

Lawyers said afterwards that they will consider their next steps.

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