Category Archives: UK News

Press release: International Women’s Day solidarity with Yarl’s Wood hunger strikers

International Women’s Day vigil

5pm Thursday 8 March 2018, Carfax, Oxford

in support of the demands of women on hunger strike in Yarl’s Wood migrant prison Bedfordshire

and the 24-hour solidarity Freedom Fast

On 21 February, more than 120 people detained in Yarl’s Wood engaged in a three-day hunger strike protesting the lack of a time limit for how long people can be detained and the inhumane conditions of the centre itself. On 26 February, they escalated to an all-out strike, releasing a statement saying “we will cease to participate in detention, we will not eat, use their facilities or work for them.” Continue reading



CGMS consultants, acting for the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, have now written to Cherwell District Council formally withdrawing the planning application to expand Campsfield.

Bill MacKeith, spokesperson for the Campaign to Close Campsfield said:

“This is a great victory. But the new government in May must implement the recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention: a 28-day time limit to detention and full judicial oversight of individual decisions to detain. This would be a further step forward and entail some closures of detention centres. Above all, this is a chance to point to the need for the end of the barbaric imprisonment every year of 30,000 innocent people under 1971 Immigration Act powers. Close Campsfield. Close all immigration detention centres.”

Carol Day at Leigh Day, solicitors acting for Stop Campsfield Expansion who wrote the 7-page letter to Cherwell Council that prompted the postponement of consideration of the application and then its withdrawal, said:

 “This is the right decision and very good news. The approach being taken by Cherwell Borough Council was clearly wrong in law. The onus was on the Home Office to prove that very special circumstances to justify this inappropriate development in the Green Belt were established. The information before the Council completely failed to make the case.”

Campaign to Close Campsfield: Bill 01865 558145, Liz 07791 738 577, Tim 07721 771 835, Gill 01993 703994
Leigh Day: David Standard, Head of Media Relations 01949 850246 07540 332717

Parliamentary Inquiry recommends shortest possible period of immigration detention, up to a 28-day limit


The report of the first-ever Parliamentary Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the UK is published on Tuesday 3 March 2013.

The wide-ranging 76-page report is critical of the current regime and makes a number of proposals. Key among them are:

· There should be a time limit of 28 days on the length of time anyone can be held in immigration detention. Continue reading

Mitie Cleaners on Strike (Will Campsfield Detainees Have That Right?)

Although it’s not clear if Mitie will continue the practice of employing detainees on slave labour rates of pay when they take over the management of Campsfield, it’s unlikely they will have the right to strike in defence of their rights, as other Mitie employees did this week.

BBC Article on Mitie Cleaner Strike.

Campsfield Demonstrators Sound a Warning on New Campsfield Contract Holder

FTSE 250 company Mitie has won the 5-year £27 million contract to run Campsfield detention centre near Oxford from this spring.

Mitie has absolutely no experience in running immigration detention centres, so far as is possible to tell from the website (which details many and varied activities) or any prison or other custodial establishment.

Campaign spokesperson Bill MacKeith said: “Mitie is like other outsourcing companies. They specialise in taking over a service and then squeezing it for profit; finding more ways to exploit staff or cut corners. In our case, a juicy ‘corner’ to be cut could be the migrants wrongfully imprisoned in Campsfield, who provide more or less forced or virtual slave labour for just £5 a day.”

Is Alex Sweeney, currently Bid Director at Mitie PLC the same Alex Sweeney who was until recently (and is still listed as such on the UK Borders Agency website) Centre Manager at Campsfield employed by the company GEO, which has just failed to secure the new contract to run Campsfield? If so, is this ethical trading (if such a thing is possible when it comes to locking up innocent people)?

Regular monthly demonstration this Saturday 26 February at Campsfield main gates, Kidlington, Oxon.
Contact: Gill Baden 01993 703994

Mitie Shame – Campsfield Changes Hands

(from The Ox-Fly | 13.02.2011)

Campsfield “House”, the migration prison near Kidlington, is changing management. Mitie (pronounced “mighty” for pomposity) won the £27m contract and will have a 5 year term.

Mitie are an “outsourcing company”; anything from providing security guards at courts and nuclear weapons labs to cleaning the Scottish Parliament. This is the first time they’ve tried managing a detention centre. These companies specialise in taking over a service and then squeezing it for profit; finding more ways to exploit staff or cut corners.

An appropriate example: migrant cleaners are hired because their “illegal” status makes them vulnerable and easy to exploit, then handed over to the authorities when it suits management, eg if they attempt to organise. In one incident, Mitie bosses were seen “laughing their heads off” while distressed migrants were intimidated and insulted by police.

Mitie’s CEO was one of 35 who signed a high-profile letter to the Telegraph backing the cuts, in the interests of “a healthier and more stable economy”. What they really mean is in the interests of their profits; as Mitie’s annual report says: “The public sector faces … considerable pressure on expenditure … this will create significant opportunities for the outsourcing market”

None of this bodes well for the 200 or so people locked up in Campsfield. Mitie’s bid was selected because they offered the cheapest service, and though the details have yet to emerge, it seems likely that it will be the detainees who suffer the results.

Woollas “hoist by his own petard”

THE FINAL JUDGEMENT on Muslim-baiting, former anti-immigrant minister Phil Woolas is described in this very informative article for IRR news, by Jon Burnett: Continue reading