Published: 18:56, 10 August 2021
| Updated: 21:06, 10 August 2021
Property tycoon Fergus Wilson has offered Priti Patel's Home Office a solution to their asylum seeker accommodation problem – his wife's flats.
The multimillionaire landlord has emailed the authority to propose they buy four blocks belonging to wife Judith.
In an email seen by KentOnline the Home Office responds: "Thank you for your email correspondence to the Home Secretary and your offer of accommodation.
"Your correspondence has been passed to the relevant business area, and they will be in contact with you in due course."
He later told KentOnline the Home Office would have to buy the properties but that "no figures have been mentioned yet".
Two blocks are at Littlestone, New Romney, with the landlord claiming to have witnessed asylum seekers coming ashore from the flats.
Another is in Folkestone and one is in Wateringbury.
The 72-year-old's suggestion, which he claims to have also made to Kent County Council, comes as the number of people crossing the Channel spirals, passing 2020's total and showing no signs of slowing down.
More than 10,000 people have so far made the perilous trip.
The Home Office has come under increasing pressure to get a grip on the crisis, with hundreds of people, including very young children, risking their lives to navigate the world's busiest shipping lane every day.
They come on flimsy boats acquired by criminal gangs and ill-suited to the 20-mile stretch.
Charities last week upped calls for more safe routes, in the form of centres in Europe where refugees can go to claim asylum in Britain.
And KCC has been feeling the strain more than most.
The authority is responsible for housing unaccompanied asylum-seeking children but has no more room and has threatened to sue the government for failing to help.
Mr Wilson, from Boughton Monchelsea, near Maidstone, was last week arrested after allegedly assaulting a council worker.
He claims he called the Maidstone Borough Council employee a "petty little Hitler" but vehemently denied his suggestion such a comment was racist.
He said he was later released without charge but Kent Police has refused to comment on the situation.
In 2017 he sparked a furious backlash after implementing a "no coloureds" letting policy.
The Home Office and KCC has been approached for comment.