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Asylum hotel: petition to No 10

MP DEREK WYATT: already handed in 6,000-name petition in the Commons
MP DEREK WYATT: already handed in 6,000-name petition in the Commons

CAMPAIGNERS against plans to convert the Coniston Hotel in Sittingbourne into an asylum seeker induction centre are to take their fight to Downing Street.

Members of the newly-formed Swale Action Community in Kent (SACK) hope to collect thousands of signatures before delivering a petition to Prime Minister Tony Blair next week.

The move is just one element of a plan of action drawn up by councillors and residents at Swale Borough Council's offices where protewstors agreed to form SACK to co-ordinate public protests and ensure everyone in the town is involved in the Government's consultation exercise over the proposed induction centre.

Sttingbourne and Sheppey MP Derek Wyatt (Lab), who is supporting SACK, has already handed over a petition containing 6,000 signatures to the House of Commons opposing the plans.

A dozen SACK members took to the streets of Sittingbourne on Saturday (1) morning, collecting an intial 1,000 signatures on the petition for Tony Blair.

The action group will also be delivering leaflets and petition slips to households across the borough urging people to write to the Government opposing the scheme.

It also plans to hold regular meetings and set up its own email newsletter. Members also want Swale Borough Council to post details about meetings on its website.

Cllr Roger Truelove (Lab), who organised the action group, said: "This will be a totally non-political action group with one aim - to get this proposal stopped.

"It is dangerous. We have already seen how interested the far right parties are. All this can only be damaging to Sittingbourne as at a time when our local economy is growing."

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