A Labour government would deploy barges to hold asylum seekers for a “very short” period while the case backlog is handled, according to the shadow immigration minister.
Former military sites, according to Stephen Kinnock, will also be utilised for a period of up to six months during work to reduce claims waits from a record high.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, has already stated that she would be unable to shut down the sites instantly but has neglected to be specific about the policies.
On Sunday, Mr Kinnock told BBC Breakfast: “The reality is that we’ve got tens of thousands of people in hotels, we need to get them out of hotels and we need to get them off the barges and out of the military camps too.
“Because of the complete and utter chaos and shambles of the Tory asylum crisis, we are going to have to continue in a very short-term period to use the infrastructure that is there, including the barges and the hotels.”
Mr Kinnock said he couldn’t specify an exact date since governments are working to reduce the decision backlog, which has reached a record high of more than 172,000 cases.
The Labour MP added: “We will be forced to use these contingency measures because of the mess the Government has made.
“I’m confident that within six months of a Labour government we will be getting on top of the backlog and clearing people out of hotels and putting them into suitable accommodation, or removing them from the country properly because they have no right to be here.”
Mr Kinnock told Sky News that he is “deeply unhappy” about having to use barges.
“This is the last thing we would want to be doing because we believe that people who are applying for asylum should be in appropriate accommodation,” he said.
The Bibby Stockholm, located at Portland Port, Dorset, is the first barge purchased by the government to lodge asylum applicants while their claims are processed.
After a series of delays, it still has no migrants living on it, despite ongoing safety concerns over plans to accommodate up to 500 people on it, significantly above its initial capacity.