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Grant Shapps forced to insist Bibby Stockholm barge is not a ‘death trap’

Grant Shapps has been forced to insist the Bibby Stockholm “quasi-prison” that will house asylum seekers is not a “deathtrap” following fire risk warnings.

The Fire Brigade Union (FBU) said it would write to the energy secretary about concerns with overcrowding and access to fire exits in the barge.

It comes as the timetable for migrants to move onto the Bibby Stockholm was pushed back once again due to ongoing checks by the Health and Safety Executive at Portland Port.

The Bibby Stockholm accommodation barge at Portland Port in Dorset

(PA Wire)

But Mr Shapps refuted the warning from the FBU as he insisted “there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be absolutely safe”.

Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain, he said: “It certainly won’t be a deathtrap.”

“This actual ship was previously used by Germany to house migrants, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be absolutely safe,” he continued. “Ships are used to transport people all the time and there’s no inherent reason why that (not being safe) would be the case.

“That’s actually why these final safety checks are being carried out.”

A Home Office source denied the delays were related to fire risks and said they were partly due to local authorities’ preferences on the timing of new services.

When asked if asylum seekers will be housed on the Bibby Stockholm barge next week, Rishi Sunak told LBC’s Nick Ferrari: “The Bibby Stockholm will be in operation as soon as it’s passed all the checks and regulations – as soon as possible – that’s the key thing.”

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has defended his policy


An LBC caller accused the prime minister of “putting UK citizens in danger” as she demanded to know when the scheme will begin.

She said: “Unvetted illegal immigrants, what I call economic migrants coming over from on boats, it’s just not acceptable.”

Mr Sunak replied the boats can’t stop “soon enough,” adding: “This is an example of me doing something different that hasn’t been done before to help solve a serious problem.”

The prime minister highlighted the Illegal Migration Act before adding: “We’re making a difference, I’m going to keep going on this … I’m going to throw everything at it.”

Mr Sunak said despite “an array of people that want me to fail” – including Labour, criminal gangs and “dodgy lawyers” – he will “keep going” to “stop the boats”.

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