Dorset

Bournemouth MP says asylum seekers may 'damage tourism'

Roundhouse Hotel Image copyright Google
Image caption Some of the refugees are being housed in the Roundhouse Hotel in Bournemouth

A Bournemouth MP has criticised the Home Office for housing asylum seekers in two of the beach resort's hotels.

Conservative MP Conor Burns said Bournemouth was the "wrong place" for the 155 refugees to stay as it could damage the town's tourism economy.

The Refugee Council said people should treat those who have "fled horrifying experiences" with "the dignity and humanity they deserve".

The Home Office said hotels were only used as a "short-term measure".

'Raped and tortured'

The asylum seekers will stay for about two weeks at two hotels owned by Britannia Hotels after being moved from an overcrowded hotel in Croydon.

Mr Burns, MP for Bournemouth West, wants the resort to be taken off the list of towns which receives refugees.

He said: "We rely heavily on visitors coming to Bournemouth.

"Here we have, at the end of the season, two hotels full of people who are not holiday makers and not coming to spend money in the local facilities."

Refugee Council chief executive Maurice Wren said the focus should be on the plight of the refugees.

He said: "Asylum seekers are people who have often fled horrifying experiences in their home countries.

"Some have been raped. Some have been tortured. Many have witnessed the death of a loved one."

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The UK has a proud history of offering sanctuary to those who need it.

"We have made clear to our providers that the use of hotels is only ever acceptable as a short-term measure."

Britannia Hotels declined to make a comment.

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