The Daily Mail led the way last Thursday, its headline declaring that 9,000 asylum seekers were now being housed in hotels across the UK.

 

In Coventry and Runcorn, local newspapers exploring the same figures dispensed tales of local guesthouses turning away paying customers in favour of housing refugees. Incensed, right wingers from Britain First filmed themselves as they entered some of the hotels identified and started banging on doors.

 

And yesterday, as Priti Patel vowed to overhaul a system she says is rife for abuse by “do-gooders and lefty lawyers,” she remained remarkably quiet on recent document leaks suggesting the Home Office has considered housing migrants on islands 4,000 miles from the UK, using water cannons to push back boats in the channel, or building a wall (sound familiar?) in the channel itself, to prevent tiny, precariously-loaded dinghies from crossing into UK waters.

 

The picture the Home Office wants to paint is clear – that of asylum seekers arriving illegally and then draining our resources. But just how accurate is it?

 

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