Following the claims in The Times newspaper that asylum seekers have been kept in dirty and dangerous homes in Glasgow, Chris Stephens, Scottish National Party MP for Glasgow South West, requested: “May we have a statement or a debate in Government time on the extraordinary allegations published by London’s The Times newspaper last week on the treatment of asylum seekers living in Glasgow by Home Office providers Serco and Orchard and Shipman? There were allegations of, among other things, the spraying of air fresheners towards asylum seekers; physical intimidation; and the placing of asylum seekers in uninhabitable housing. Does the Leader of the House agree that such dehumanising treatment of asylum seekers merits Ministers reporting directly to Parliament?”
Chris Grayling Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons, Chair, Palace of Westminster (Joint Committee) responded:
“No one would condone that kind of treatment of any individual no matter who they are in our society. The hon. Gentleman makes an important point, which I am sure will have been noted by Home Office Ministers.”
An Early Day Motion (EDM 1156: Independent Investigation Into Compass Asylum Contracts) has been proposed by Stuart McDonald, Scottish National Party MP for Cumbernauld Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East on 25 February 2016:
“That this House expresses its serious concern about the allegations in The Times Scotland on Thursday 18 February of dehumanising treatment, neglect and poor standards of accommodation for those seeking asylum in the UK who have been dispersed to Glasgow; notes that these allegations pertain to Orchard and Shipman in particular, who have been sub-contracted by Serco, itself under contract from the Home Office, to deliver the lifeline public service of housing for women, children and men, many of whom come from war-torn countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea; emphasises that we must always remember these are resilient but also deeply vulnerable fellow women, men and children who may have lost everything precious to them and made perilous journeys to seek refuge here and find a secure home; recommends that the seriousness of the allegations in The Times Scotland merit the fullest independent investigation; considers that a full and comprehensive inquiry or review into the Compass asylum accommodation contracts across the UK is now required, particularly given recent allegations concerning performance of the Compass contracts in Middlesbrough and Cardiff; and believes that all local authorities and communities, and the devolved governments where applicable, must be fully involved in any Home Office decisions to widen asylum dispersal including who they are expected to contract and work with in the provision of accommodation to asylum seekers.”
Early Day Motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons. EDMs allow MPs to draw attention to an event or cause and MPs register their support by signing individual motions. So far, 15 MPs have signed EDM 1156. However, very few EDMs are actually debated.