Hotel housing asylum seekers in Milton Keynes owned by convicted criminal as council leader calls for action

    The Council Leader and MK Labour group are calling on the government to 'end the contract immediately'

    Harben House hotel in Newport Pagnell has started to welcome around 270 asylum seekers, with the first arriving last Friday.

    It has today been revealed that the hotel in Newport Pagnell, Milton Keynes is owned by Tulip Real Estate Ltd, a company majority owned by Mr Siddharth Mahajan. 

    Mr Siddharth Mahajan was convicted in 2019 of several offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act which included perverting the course of justice and forging documents.

    The matter was in relation to illegal HMO accommodation, the case has today been reported by the BBC.

    Barking and Dagenham Council told the BBC it had investigated Mahajan for converting three family homes in Barking, east London, into HMOs without planning permission.

    The hotel is set to be used as longer-term temporary accommodation for people awaiting decisions.

    Cllr Pete Marland, Labour Leader of Milton Keynes City Council, has now written to Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Minister for Immigration, to ask that the contract with the company be terminated immediately.

    He has stated that the Home Office, responsible for law and order, should not be giving taxpayers money to a convicted criminal. 

    Cllr Marland has demanded that the Conservative government set up an inquiry to find out why the contract was awarded. He has also asked that the Home Office publish how much money the contract was worth, if any other property owned by Tulip Real Estate Ltd or Mr Siddharth Mahajan is being used by the Home Office and if any other people convicted of criminal offences have been awarded lucrative funding to house asylum seekers. 

    MK Labour has also written to Ben Everitt MP for Milton Keynes North to ask that he support the call to end the contract and set up an inquiry into the Conservatives government’s handling of the matter. 

    Cllr Peter Marland, Leader of MK City Council said: “The Conservative asylum shambles has reached yet another new low as it is revealed that the Conservative government has been giving a convicted criminal’s company taxpayers money. It is incredible that the department responsible for law or order is allowing a man who perverted the course of justice and forged documents in relation to a housing matter to get rich. The government must terminate the contract immediately and set up an inquiry into another chaotic decision.” 

    Chris Curtis, Labour spokesperson for MK North, said: “The MK Labour Party are also calling on Ben Everitt MP to fully back the call to terminate this shocking and inexplicable state of affairs. He needs to support a full inquiry into how a lucrative contracts are being awarded and what background checks have been done on who the Home Office are giving contracts to. People moving into the hotel are subject to background checks, as Ben pointed out last week, so he now needs to show that the same standard applies to those that are getting rich on the back of his Conservative government’s incompetent handling of the asylum system.”  

    Cllr Marland concluded: “The events around how the Conservative government have handled the asylum hotel shows that they are in chaos and incapable of governing properly. They have failed to stop the boats, the asylum application backlog is at a record high and now they letting convicted criminals profit from lucrative Home Office contracts. This total and utter mess must end.” 

    Last week, it was revealed by Ben Everitt MP that there will be a mix of families and single adults in the accommodation.

    "After constant dialogue with the Home Office I can now confirm there will be a mix of families and single adults at the asylum seeker accommodation in Newport Pagnell. The first group has moved into the site today (Friday), with the final group set to arrive early next week.

    "Please be assured that security and support staff will be on site 24 hours a day and the Home Office has confirmed to me additional staff could be added if it is felt necessary. Home Office providers will work with the emergency services to mitigate any risks to the wider community. If there are any concerns of anti-social behaviour at the hotel there is a process for managing this.

    "I will continue to press the Home Office to make sure the asylum processing is done as quickly as possible. And I will provide updates should the situation change."

    MKFM has contacted Ben Everitt MP for a response.

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