Mayor waits for ruling on first stage of fight over migrant barge

A local councillor is waiting for a judge’s ruling on the first stage of a High Court fight with Home Secretary Suella Braverman over the housing of asylum seekers on a barge.

Carralyn Parkes wants Mr Justice Holgate to give her the go-ahead to challenge the lawfulness of the use of the Bibby Stockholm barge in Portland Harbour, Dorset.

Mrs Parkes, a member of Portland Town Council and the Mayor of Portland, says she is “deeply concerned” by the Government’s “planned accommodation” on the Bibby Stockholm.

Lawyers representing Ms Braverman say Mrs Parkes’s challenge should be dismissed.

Dorset residents and supporters of Carralyn Parkes outside the Royal Courts Of Justice in London
Dorset residents and supporters of Carralyn Parkes gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Tuesday (James Manning/PA)

“She is deeply concerned by the planned accommodation of around 500 asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm barge by the (Home Secretary), especially by the fact that the (Home Secretary) proceeded on the basis that she did not require planning permission and without any adequate consultation with the local community,” Alex Goodman KC, who is leading Mrs Parkes’s legal team, told the judge in a written case outline.

The Bibby Stockholm accommodation barge at Portland Port in Dorset
The Bibby Stockholm accommodation barge is moored at Portland Port in Dorset (James Manning/PA)

Mr Goodman said Mrs Parkes argued that the housing of asylum seekers on the barge was a “breach of planning control” and that there had not been “compliance” with environmental impact assessment duties.

Mrs Parkes, who is from Liverpool, is also arguing that Ms Braverman has not complied with duties under the 2010 Equality Act.

Mr Goodman said “segregating non-British people” raised links to “racial segregation” that were “so obnoxious”.

He said it was something “obviously required to be considered” in relation to a “public sector equality duty”.

He added she had an “arguable case”.

Migrant barge court case
Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s lawyers argue that Mrs Parkes’ claim is ‘out of time’ (Yui Mok/PA)

They argued that 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.

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