Dame Caroline Dinenage, Member of Parliament for Gosport, has met with the new Minister of State for Countering Illegal Migration, Michael Tomlinson KC MP, to discuss the renovation and reopening of the Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) at Haslar.

Mr Tomlinson took over the role after Robert Jenrick resigned in December.

The former prison has been closed since 2016 but it was announced in 2022 that it would be brought back into use in 2024 as a secure site to house foreign national offenders.

Caroline visited the Immigration Removal Centre in December to see the redevelopment and refurbishment of the migration site and wrote to the new Minister asking for a meeting to update him on the background, and discuss progress on the construction works, which have been delayed due to asbestos. 

She was keen to stress the vital importance of keeping local people informed about developments at the site and will be hosting another opportunity for the public to meet Home Office staff and contractors involved this Spring.  Over 200 people turned up to the last event in January 2023. 

Caroline has long been campaigning for the site to be sold off or brought back to use in a way that generates employment and economic activity in the area.

 After the meeting, she said: “I am grateful to the Minister for his interest in IRC Haslar and commitment to keeping local people informed.  Like many residents, while I would rather it was sold and used for a different purpose, I am tired of the site rotting away at public expense.  The refurbishment is high quality and I now look forward to the planned reopening at the end of this year and the 200 jobs it will bring to our peninsula.”