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Labour councillor accuses MP Paul Bristow of misleading Parliament

Cllr Shabina Qayyum is furious at MP Paul Bristow’s remarks

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A Labour councillor accused Peterborough MP of misleading the House of Commons over her party’s policy on the fate of the city’s Great Northern Hotel – currently being used to house asylum seekers. East ward Councillor Dr Shabina Asad Qayyum (described the MP’s contribution to Parliament on Tuesday as “simply not true”.

She said: “This is quite beneath MP Paul Bristow to stand in an honourable place like the House of Commons and speak an untruth.

“It is simply not true.”

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Her reaction, on X, formerly Twitter, followed comments made by Mr Bristow in which he accused Labour of wanting to retain the hotel for “migrant asylum accommodation”.

The MP told Corby MP Tom Pursglove, recently appointed to the role of a minister responsible for legal migration, that he “may be aware that the Great Northern Hotel, once the flagship hotel for Peterborough, was being used as asylum accommodation.

“But a Peterborough-based campaign means that it has been stood down and now plans to be part—or could be part—of the £70 million regeneration package in the station quarter.

“Is he surprised to learn that Labour councillors in Peterborough oppose that and want the Great Northern Hotel to remain migrant hostel asylum accommodation?”

Mr Pursglove, unaware of the specifics, replied: “Very few things surprise me about those in the Labour Party.

“The things they say and do do not always match the rhetoric of their front benchers. Their policies—or lack of—on this matter speak for themselves.

“My hon. friend was an ardent advocate for getting that hotel closed, and I am grateful for the representations he made.

“The Government will continue with the mission we are on, which is to get this issue under control, close the hotels and make sure that our borders and migration system is sustainable for the future.”

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On his Facebook page Mr Bristow added: “Labour don’t want the Great Northern Hotel as part of the £70 million station quarter redevelopment – and the new council depends on Labour councillors.

“We need a new future for the building – a hotel which was once a flagship for our City. The only thing we have ever heard from Labour is opposition to our successful campaign to stand down the hotel down as migrant accommodation.”

But Cllr Qayyum is furious at Mr Bristow’s remarks and said she had recently made Labour’s position clear in an article in the Peterborough Telegraph.

She told the paper: “Labour has always been opposed to the use of hotel accommodation to cover up for the record immigration backlogs built up by the government.

She added: “Despite Labour opposing the decision to use the Great Northern Hotel, I helped provide medical support once people were here.

“Not only did the government move people into the Great Northern without consulting the council they did not provide sufficient help for services when they did arrive.”

Last October Mr Bristow in a Facebook post headed ‘super news’ he promised that the Great Northern “will be back as a hotel at the gateway to our city.

East ward Peterborough councillor Dr Shabina Asad Qayyum (left) described MP Paul Bristow’s (right) contribution to Parliament on Tuesday as “simply not true”.

East ward Peterborough councillor Dr Shabina Asad Qayyum (left) described MP Paul Bristow’s (right) contribution to Parliament on Tuesday as “simply not true”.

“Hopefully, this will be a new chapter in the history of this historic hotel. It is also good news for our station redevelopment.”

He added: “More details to come.”

The wait continues for ‘more details’.

Cllr Qayyum meanwhile wants the cost to the taxpayers of using the Great Northern hotel to be released.

“The figure could run into millions of pounds,” she says. “It’s clear that the Great Northern is a mess made by the Conservatives, nobody else.”

 

 

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