Suella Braverman has been threatened with legal action from two charities over 'appalling' conditions at the Manston migrant holding centre.

The Home Secretary received separate letters from Detention Action and a woman held at Manston, and Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) on Tuesday, November 1.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick has previously said the Government had received “initial contact for a judicial review” over Manston, but added that he could not comment on who was behind the challenge for legal reasons.

Mr Jenrick said the move was “not unusual” as it concerned a “highly litigious area of policy”.

Glasgow Times: Two charities threaten legal action over conditions at Manston (PA)Two charities threaten legal action over conditions at Manston (PA) (Image: PA)

Two charities threaten Home Office with legal action over Manston

Detention Action’s pre-action letter, which was sent by Duncan Lewis solicitors, said that the woman, from a non-European country, “was unlawfully detained by the Home Secretary at the Manston facility in egregiously defective conditions”.

The complaint also includes “serious threats to the safety of children”, the charity said.

The woman and charity have also raised concerns about the site including “the routine prolongation of detention beyond statutory time limits; failure to adhere to essential safeguarding measures for children; women and children sleeping alongside adult men to whom they are unrelated; inadequate or non-existent access to legal advice for those detained; and exposure to infectious diseases due to overcrowding and poor sanitation.”

The charity's deputy director James Wilson said: “We have taken this action out of serious concern for the welfare of thousands of people, including children, still being detained at Manston for periods far beyond legal limits.

“We are calling on the Home Secretary to declare that anyone held at Manston for more than 24 hours is being detained unlawfully.

“We are also asking that the Home Secretary allow access to the facility for organisations qualified to provide support in immigration detention settings.”

BID, represented by law firm Leigh Day, has also challenged “the unlawful failure to provide access to outside support”.

It asks the Home Secretary to “immediately provide legal advice surgeries at Manston and to help people at the centre to access legal advice”, the charity said.

BID legal director Pierre Makhlouf said: “People are being denied access to their legal right to apply for bail before an independent court, a process that would allow inquiry into their needs including their ability to access accommodation and support.

Glasgow Times: Yui Mok/PAYui Mok/PA (Image: Yui Mok/PA)

“Individuals need to be allowed to exercise their rights and the courts need to be allowed to consider cases of people in these circumstances.

“Keeping people in appalling conditions, dumping people on the streets without support and withholding information on their right to access legal rights is an inhuman approach towards those in need of compassion, and results in a breach of the legal standards the UK has set for itself.”

The Home Office has confirmed that it had received a letter and would be responding in due course.

However, it added that it could not comment on ongoing legal proceedings.

A spokesman said: “Manston remains resourced and equipped to process migrants securely and we will provide alternative accommodation as soon as possible.”