On a cloudy day in late July Nigel Farage, the eurosceptic, anti-immigration leader of the Brexit party, attempted and failed to stay at a hotel in Worcestershire.
He attempted to reserve a room at the 4 star Bromsgrove Hotel and Spa, but it was closed to the public. It turns out it was accommodating 147 illegal migrants and the taxpayer is paying for it.
In an accompanying, 10-minute video Nigel Farage could be seen travelling to the site on the alleged insistence of local residents while making a number of allegations about the state of immigration in the United Kingdom.
But does his central contention, that the UK taxpayer is footing this multi-billion pound bill to put up illegal migrants in four-star hotels hold up to scrutiny?
And while many of the claims Nigel Farage makes in his video are a complex mixture of inebriated figures and statistics used to support his points of view, his assertion that the hotel is populated by illegal immigrants seems to be amongst the easiest to debunk.
The Britannia owned Bromsgrove Hotel and Spa is, as a number of hotels across the country, is used to temporarily house asylum seekers, according to the government and the site’s operators, Serco.
Unlike irregular migrants who may be in violation of the law, asylum seekers are those striving to legitimately and legally make a claim for sanctuary in the United Kingdom, for instance, to flee oppression.
Interim accommodation has long been a part of the asylum application process and makes up part of the UK’s international obligations to protect those seeking asylum. And those asking for asylum are unable to work while they’re being processed by the Home Office, so they’re housed by the taxpayer until their application is either approved or declined.
In the video, Nigel Farage repeatedly says the hotel is housing 147 young men, at one point adding that they’re mostly in amid the ages of 18 and 26. However, it’s unclear how he would have reached that number, with Serco staff later confronted by the politician saying they’re unable to reveal data on those staying at the locality.
There’s no publicly accessible detail on how many people are currently staying in the building, although the hotel had 148 rooms when it was open to the public and after being turned away from the hotel, he said that as he wandered into the hotel, he was not welcomed and was told it was closed, but of course, it’s not closed because all 147 beds are taken, making it probable the figure was, in fact, the number of rooms Nigel Farage had been unable to book on their website.
Also, staff and families were left in tears when asylum-seekers moved out of the Rivenhall Hotel in Witham.
The director of the hotel which housed 40 asylum seekers spoke out after backlash led to their removal and Nigel Farage annihilated Priti Patel by posting a video about Rivenhall Hotel in Witham, where he alleged illegal immigrants were living.
The families who’d been staying at the hotel were in fact approved asylum seekers and arrived at the hotel under a pre-arranged agreement on August 11 but the Home Office promptly reacted to the furore, maintaining the placement of the asylum seekers in Priti Patel’s constituency was an oversight.
This led to all 40 individuals seeking asylum being forced to move out of the Rivenhall Hotel on Sunday (August 16).
Mark Venkatasami, the director of Rivehall, said both the asylum seekers and employees were left in tears as they were sent onto coaches to be removed from the site.
And in the week they were at the hotel, Mark Venkatasami said the asylum seekers arrived distressed and starving.
Over the coming days, he heard horrific stories of their time in their home countries where they had escaped from.
According to the Refuge Council, a person seeking asylum is a person who’s left their country of birth and has formally asked for asylum in another country but whose application has not yet been concluded.
They further state that there’s no such thing as an illegal or bogus asylum seeker and under international law, anyone has the right to ask for asylum in any country that has signed the 1951 Convention and to remain there until the authorities have assessed their application.
The Refuge Council also states that it’s recognised in the 1951 Convention that people escaping oppression may have to use unconventional means in order to escape and claim asylum in another country as there’s no legitimate way to travel to the United Kingdom for the specific purpose of seeking asylum.
Mark Venkatasami said as the days went on, he watched them start to settle in before they were removed less than a week later, but not only have those few days shrouded the hotel in negativity, he also claims, it also left his hotel empty, with no work for his employees post lockdown.
The plan to house the asylum seekers in his hotel, he said was to help save the hotel, keep his employees in work as well as provide a secure place for those seeking asylum and the staff and families were in tears as the asylum seekers were moved on, and because of Nigel Farage’s stunt, the staff at the hotel face job losses and possible liquidation.