Anti-racist activists march through the streets of Portland  to welcome refugees (Picture: Dorset SUTR)

The Tories’ racist plot to trap refugees on a barge at Portland may be temporarily delayed, but the cruel scheme is still due to go ahead. 

The Home Office cited “fire ­concerns” as the reason why the plan to move the first 50 refugees onto the barge might be delayed. 

The barge has reportedly not had approval from local fire and rescue services. 

A lack of lifejackets on board and narrow corridors were also among the major safety issues.

One report to The Times ­newspaper said there are “serious concerns” that the boat could be a “floating Grenfell”—a reference to the west London tower block fire that killed 72 people in June 2017.

“We welcome refugees,” says Lynne Hubbard, joint chair of Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) Dorset.

“We’re opposed to this prison barge and no one should be moved onto a vessel that’s unsafe. 

“At the same time, we want ­refugees placed on the Bibby Stockholm to know we stand with them against the government’s policies, which encourage racism and hostility, and that people in Dorset are offering support.”

The barge was designed to hold 222 people in single cabins.  SUTR Dorset planned a ­“refugees welcome” event on Tuesday.

“Refugees are here because of crises in which they have been compelled to flee war and persecution,” says Lynne.

“It’s cruel to cram them onto the barge, which is being converted to house double the number of people for which it was designed. We deplore the decision of Langham Industries, owners of Portland Port, to berth the barge. They are profiting from human tragedy.”

The Home Office plans to put 506 refugees in multiple-occupancy rooms. That’s 248 percent more than capacity. 

There are also no external ­windows in the narrow corridors, which would cause issues with smoke ventilation and navigation around the barge. 

The windows are restricted from opening fully, and there are no planned fire drills.

The family company that owns the Portland port where the barge is set to moor pocketed £2.5 ­million to berth it for 18 months. The firm has ties to the racist Ukip party. 

Langham Industries’ founder John Langham donated more than £70,000 to Ukip in 19 contributions between 2003 and 2016.

As the Telegraph’s obituary to Langham said in 2017, “His political views evolved from supporting Harold Wilson’s Labour government in the 1960s to becoming a keen Thatcherite in the 1980s and eventually an avid supporter of the Referendum Party and Ukip, festooning his manorial gates with purple and yellow placards at election time.”

Meanwhile 2,000 tents could also be used to house migrants on disused military sites in the next few months. 

Home secretary Suella Braverman has put the tents and other ­“temporary facilities” on standby.

Plans have been delayed to move 2,000 refugees to RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire until October after delays in surveys of the 14 ­buildings on the site.

It was also reported that ­refugees have tuberculosis at RAF Wethersfield, which currently holds 46 refugees. 

The site has six barrack blocks for 800 people, two office blocks for 400 and a further 500 bed spaces in “modular accommodation”.

Positive results for tuberculosis in refugees at the ex-army barrack in Braintree, Essex, were also ­followed by reports of scabies and scurvy.  Misery, disease and racism result from the Tories’ mercilessly cruel treatment of refugees. 


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