A Cabinet minister has insisted a giant barge due to house asylum seekers is not a “deathtrap”.
Grant Shapps dismissed a warning from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), which reportedly plans to write to the Home Office over concerns about overcrowding and access to fire exits on the Bibby Stockholm.
According to The Guardian, the union’s assistant general secretary, Ben Selby, said: “As the only professional voice, firefighters believe the Bibby Stockholm to be a potential deathtrap.”
But the Energy Secretary told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Wednesday: “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. 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.”
It comes as the plans to move migrants on to the barge, docked in Portland on the Dorset coast, have been beset by delays, with Government sources now suggesting the first arrivals may not be on board until next week.
Staff were seen carrying provisions on to the vessel on Wednesday morning.
Pictures showed a food delivery being unloaded from a Bidfood wholesaler truck, suggesting final preparations ahead of the arrivals are under way.