New Bexhill MP voices opposition to Northeye immigration detention centre plans

The new MP for Bexhill and Battle has voiced his opposition to plans to turn a former prison into an immigration detention centre in his constituency.

Kieran Mullan, who was elected Conservative MP for the area at last week’s General Election, said the plans for Northeye in Bexhill were wrong, as the town does not have the ‘local infrastructure’ to support them and the location was not the right place to set up such a centre.

Dr Mullan was selected to be the Conservative candidate last month after Huw Merriman, who was elected MP in 2015, decided to step down.

The new MP got 16,186 votes, a majority of 2,657.

The full results were as follows: Kieran Mullan (Conservative), 16,186; Christine Bayliss (Labour), 13,529; Ian Gribbin (Reform UK), 7,929; Becky Jones (Liberal Democrat), 3,473; Jonathan Kent (Green), 2,972; Abul Azad (Independent), 2,206; Jeff Newnham (Independent), 769; Julia Long (Party of Women), 332; Nigel Jacklin (Independent Network) 210; Colin Sullivan (UKIP) 144.

The plans for Northeye, which were announced by the Home Office in March last year, have attracted widespread opposition from residents.

Dr Mullan said: “The plans for Northeye are not the right ones for Bexhill and I will do my best to get the Home Office to reconsider. We do not have the local infrastructure to support it and a quiet residential road is not the right place for it.”

Last summer, the Home Office confirmed if the plans for Northeye were to go ahead, the site would be used for ‘detained’ purposes only, meaning that asylum seekers residing there would not be free to come and go.

Northeye is one of several sites chosen by the Home Office for accommodation centres for asylum seekers to be built.

Since the plans for Northeye were first unveiled, several protests have been held in Bexhill, organised by the No to Northeye group.

Last September, a petition signed by more than 2,000 people opposing Government plans to turn Northeye into a centre for asylum seekers, was handed to Rother District Council by the No to Northeye group, calling on the authority to oppose the plans by the Home Office.

Dr Mullan said: “I heard loud and clear on the campaign trail what residents want me to focus on. You want your roads fixed, your countryside and waters protected, your NHS improved, your local high streets revitalised and much more. I also know what is top of the list in Bexhill might not be in Battle and might be different in each of the villages. So I will try and deliver on local priorities.”

Before being elected for Bexhill & Battle, Dr Mullan, 41, served as the MP for Crewe and Nantwich in Cheshire from 2019.

Last month after he was chosen by the Bexhill and Battle Conservative Association to contest the seat, Dr Mullan said: “I’m not a typical politician. I think we need more MPs who know what it’s like on the front line of public services and have experience of the real world. You don’t get much more real world than being a doctor in A&E or volunteering as a policeman and I have done both.”

“My mum was a nurse and my dad a policeman and I got into politics to represent ordinary families like mine so people can count on me to be a voice for them.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.