THE Home Office is ­“comprehensively failing some of the most vulnerable people in society” and must stop housing asylum ­seekers in military barracks, ­according to MPs and peers.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Immigration Detention said its “worst fears” were confirmed that the accommodation is “not only inappropriate, but downright harmful”, as it called on the Government to scrap potential plans to use ­similar accommodation on a larger scale across the country.

Earlier this year, immigration ­minister Kevin Foster confirmed the Home Office’s plan to continue to use scandal-hit Napier Barracks in Kent beyond September when its initial one-year contract expires.

According to the APPG’s report, features of such sites – including their prison-like conditions – could be “highly re-traumatising” for victims of torture and trafficking. The group said its inquiry also ­details how ­people had been left ­feeling ­“dehumanised, exhausted and ­suffering a profound deterioration in their mental health, in some cases to the point of ­attempting suicide”.

APPG chairman Alison Thewliss (below), the SNP MP for Glasgow Central, said the report highlights the “myriad of ways in which the Home Office is comprehensively failing some of the most vulnerable people in society”.

Alison Thewliss’s report describes witness accounts as ‘heartbreaking’ and a ‘picture of misery’

“The accounts of witnesses were heart-breaking and painted a ­picture of misery and a disregard for ­medical and legal rights. It is even more ­worrying that the Home Office ­themselves described this situation as a ‘pilot project’, suggesting this is the beginning of a new approach.

The Home Office has in the past insisted “significant improvements” have since been made and claimed it would be an “insult” to suggest the site is not fit for asylum seekers as it had been previously used to house military personnel.

Earlier this year, almost 200 people at the site contracted coronavirus, leading to accusations that health ­advice had been ignored.

In April, the Home Office declared the outbreak was over and insisted asylum seekers were staying in “safe, suitable, Covid-compliant ­conditions”.

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But in July, senior health officials said it was still “difficult to ­envisage” the site being considered ­Covid-safe. A month later it emerged more ­Covid-19 cases had been identified.

Meanwhile, the legality of Priti ­Patel’s plans to turn back migrant boats at sea has been called into ­question by peers, including senior lawyers and a former judge.

The Lords Justice and Home ­Affairs Committee has written to the Home Secretary, expressing “concerns” over the legal basis for the so-called pushbacks.

The letter adds to “growing concern both in and outside Parliament” over the policy proposed in a bid to curb Channel crossings, peers said.

Patel insisted the plan has a ­“legal basis” when questioned by the ­committee in October, despite ­concerns being repeatedly raised over its legality and effectiveness.

The committee’s LibDem chairwoman, Baroness Hamwee, a former solicitor, said: “Statements, including from the Home Secretary, are that there is a legal basis for the policy of so-called ‘turnarounds’. We question that.

“The so-called ‘turnaround’ ­policy would force fragile small boats ­crossing the Channel to turn back. It is hard to imagine a situation in which those in them would not be in increased danger.

“Instead, the Home Secretary has set a policy of forcing them to turn around. Even if there is a ­domestic legal basis, if it were ­actually ­implemented, it would ­almost ­certainly contravene the UN ­Convention on the Law of the Sea.

“Policing borders should be done in full accordance with the principles of national and international law, and we look forward to full engagement with our questions.”

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Labour members Baroness Chakrabarti, a barrister and former director of human rights group Liberty, and former home secretary Lord Blunkett, Conservative member and solicitor Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia, and retired Court of Appeal judge and crossbench peer Baroness Hallett also sit on the committee.

The committee said it “fully” endorses a report published last week by another group of MPs and peers, which found the tactic likely to breach human rights laws.

The turnaround tactics are “not the solution” and will “do the opposite of what is required to save lives”, the Joint Committee on Human Rights said. It described the proposed bill as “littered” with measures which are “simply incompatible” with the UK’s international obligations.

Steve Valdez-Symonds, ­Amnesty ­International UK’s refugee and ­migrant rights director, said: ­“Dangerous at-sea pushbacks should be absolutely ruled out, while other draconian measures in the ­Nationality and Borders Bill need to be dropped.”