Boston and Skegness MP slams use of hotel for asylum seekers after protest
MP for Boston and Skegness, Matt Warman, says he does not believe the Supreme Inn, located near the A17/A52 roundabout at Bicker Bar, is “in any way appropriate” for housing asylum seekers – despite the fact many of them have been there for a year now.
Mr Warman’s comments come after news that around 20 asylum seekers staged a protest outside the hotel last month, over concerns relating to their living arrangements.
Wearing bin bags and holding placards, the group’s demonstration on August 15 was attended by officers from Lincolnshire Police, who confirmed the demonstration was ‘peaceful’.
Some of the asylum seekers also claim they have been subjected to abusive comments and derogatory remarks from some locals in the area.
One asylum seeker staying at the hotel is Amir Baghjary who says he fled Iran after being sentenced to five years in jail simply for participating in a rap video.
Speaking to the Standard, he told us: “I am from Iran. I've fled my country due to a dehumanising, oppressive court order. I participated in a rap protest song in favour of Afghan minority who live in a bad situation in Iran.
"I was sentenced [to] five years prison plus 74 whips (lashings). I applied for asylum in Greece, but they rejected me three times. Therefore, I had to leave their country.
"As soon as I arrived in England by the boat, they recorded my fingerprint and they transferred [me] to Supreme Inns. It’s almost one year that I’m living here.”
Mr Baghjary says he has contacted Migrant Help concerning the hotel, as well as “the local people’s treatment towards us” – but has not been offered any help so far.
He said some of his friends there have been called names in the local community and told to go away as they are ‘contagious.’
“Finally, we decided to express our anger and dissatisfaction on our own by staging a demonstration,” he said, adding that they chose to wear the bin bags as “a means of protest in order for no more humiliation and no more dehumanisation.”
The Standard approached Mr Warman about the protest and some of the concerns voiced by Mr Baghjary on behalf of asylum seekers there.
MP Matt Warman said: “While I don’t believe the Supreme Inn is in any way appropriate to house asylum seekers, for so long as it is used by the Home Office for this purpose Serco have a duty to provide decent accommodation and humane management in line with government guidelines. I have recently met with Swineshead Parish Council and others to further discuss this matter and have raised it with the Home Office and Serco directly.”
The hotel is currently managed by Serco. The Standard approached the company for a comment about the claims the hotel wasn’t offering suitable living conditions for the asylum seekers.
A spokesperson told us: “A small protest took place but was about NHS waiting times, a single resident was effectively protesting as he wanted his medical procedure to take place sooner. He was then joined by some others.”
However, the footage seen by the Standard shows an organised protest with around 20 people wearing bin bags and holding up placards.
Responding to Mr Warman’s comment, a Home Office spokesperson said: “Despite the number of people arriving in the UK reaching record levels, we continue to provide support for asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute. Where concerns are raised about any aspect of the service delivered in a hotel we work with the provider to ensure these concerns are addressed.”