There has been a huge amount of discussion about plans to use Pontins at Ainsdale for housing asylum seekers. The current state of the matter is as confused as ever, as reflected by the “buck passing” between the Conservatives (represented by Southport’s current MP) and Labour (in the form of Sefton Council): https://eyeonsouthport.co.uk/southport-mp-statement-on-pontins

Reform UK Southport would make two observations.

First, we share residents’ concerns about the matter and strongly oppose the repurposing of Pontins for this function: Ainsdale is simply not equipped to house 2,500 asylum seekers. It is true, of course, that Pontins in Ainsdale has seen better days, and better use could be made of the site. But that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to be used as an asylum processing and detention centre. Sefton Council should consider what can be done to make it either an affordable yet high quality holiday destination or develop the site for some other community purpose.

Second, the simple fact is that as long as the small boats are being allowed – and apparently facilitated – to cross the channel to the UK from France, in breach of the principle that asylum should be declared in the first safe country, then the problem of housing the new arrivals will continue to get more acute. In reality, neither Labour nor Conservatives will solve this problem. Only Reform UK has a real plan that we would intend to push forward with your support as electors.

When Conservatives and Labour come knocking at your door, ask them if their respective parties will give a commitment on this issue, not just up to the election in 2024, but for the duration of the next parliament all the way to 2029 and beyond. Both major parties are concerned about a marginal seat like Southport – Ainsdale is close enough to impact upon the town even if the boundary review will place it just outside – but only until the election has come and gone. Expect both parties to muddy the waters on the Pontins issue until then.

It is possible that you are just fine with the current approach taken by the political establishment to the problem.

But if you are not, you are entitled to express your view, and there is no better way to do so than through the ballot box.

You can’t keep voting Labour, Conservative, and Lib Dem, and expecting something will miraculously change. “The definition of insanity,” Albert Einstein is reported to have said, “is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” It’s time to make a change.