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Britain's most controversial landlord Fergus Wilson offers to sell government 150 homes to accommodate Afghan interpreters fleeing Taliban


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Having waded into the asylum seeker crisis Britain's most controversial landlord is seeking to solve another global issue – rescuing Afghan interpreters.

Earlier this week property tycoon Fergus Wilson offered to sell four blocks of flats belonging to wife Judith to Priti Patel's Home Office.

Fergus Wilson of Boughton Moncheslea. Picture: Matthew Walker
Fergus Wilson of Boughton Moncheslea. Picture: Matthew Walker

He hoped the blocks, two of which overlook the beach at Littlestone, New Romney, would be used to house asylum seekers but is yet to receive a response from the government.

Days after his offer the Home Office announced contractors were being sought to build and run centre for more than 8,000 asylum seekers.

With more than 10,000 arriving in Kent this year it is unclear just how far Mr Wilson's offer – the estimated value of which he did not disclose – would go to solving the crisis.

But now, as he seeks to shift yet more of the couple's remaining portfolio, the 72-year-old has written to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab offering 150 homes to house families fleeing the Taliban's relentless march.

Since US and British forces pulled out of the war-torn Middle Eastern state after 20 years the Taliban has retaken large swathes of the country.

Taliban fighters sit on the back of a vehicle in the city of Herat, west of Kabul (Hamed Sarfarazi/AP)
Taliban fighters sit on the back of a vehicle in the city of Herat, west of Kabul (Hamed Sarfarazi/AP)

There have been reports of women being turned away from universities and offices, while the visa system for study in the UK has been paused.

Meanwhile former interpreters are pleading with the UK to grant them asylum amid fears they will be killed for aiding the coalition.

Against that backdrop the Boughton Monchelsea millionaire, who once implemented a widely-condemned 'no coloureds' policy on his homes, wrote: "Dear Mr Raab, It seems the extraction from Kabul has all the hallmarks of the extraction from Saigon!

"Unless the UK acts extremely quickly the Translators and their families will be butchered.

"If the UK brings them to Kent, I can offer to sell to HMG 150 houses to accommodate them. They are those remaining from my Property Portfolio which I have been selling off!

"Let me know if you are interested!"

Saigon refers to the April 1975 fall of South Vietnam's capital, which marked the end of the Vietnam War.

The event was accompanied by images of helicopters rescuing US citizens and allies from rooftops in the city. Similar scenes played out this week in Kabul.

Mr Wilson was unsure of the exact value of the 150-home portfolio, spread across Kent.

When asked how he would handle the crisis he told KentOnline: "I am not making the decisions. Boris Johnson is.

"My own view is that the government has a duty of care towards them and their families.

"I think Boris should fly them to England. They have no future in Afghanistan and will very probably be killed.

"I recall that Britain allowed Gurkhas to settle in the UK about 10 years ago."

Dominic Raab Picture: Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA Wire
Dominic Raab Picture: Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA Wire

Boris Johnson today convened a meeting of emergency committee COBRA to discuss the situation in Afghanistan as Taliban fighters were poised to retake capital Kabul.

He will also seek to recall parliament early.

It came as Britain and other western countries were scrambling to get their remaining nationals out before it was too late.

The lead elements of a 600-strong UK force – including Paras from 16 Air Assault Brigade – were understood to be in the capital to assist with the operation.

It was reported arrangements were being made for the ambassador Sir Laurie Bristow to be flown out after plans for him to remain with a small team in a secure location at the airport were abandoned.

Officials said they were doing all they could to assist the estimated 2,000 Afghans who had worked with the British during their time in the country to relocate while there was still time.

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.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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