7 July 2023: **Disgraceful!** BBC: Minister Robert Jenrick ordered painting over of child asylum unit murals
Murals of Mickey Mouse and other cartoon characters designed to welcome child asylum seekers to a reception centre in Dover have been painted over, by order of the immigration minister.
Robert Jenrick instructed that they be removed, reportedly because he believed they sent too welcoming a message.
The Home Office said the Kent Intake Unit (KIU) opened last November to look after unaccompanied child migrants.
Facilities included softer interview rooms and an outside space, it added.
There were also prayer rooms, a larger reception area and improved security measures to ensure children’s safety, the Home Office said.
A spokesperson confirmed the murals were removed on Tuesday, adding: “We do all we can to ensure children are safe, secure and supported as we urgently seek placements with a local authority.
iNews: Furious Tories say Jenrick order to remove Mickey Mouse art at children’s asylum centre is ‘f**king disgrace’
EXCLUSIVE: Senior Whitehall officials have been surprised by immigration minister’s approach, with one suggesting he was trying to be tougher than Suella Braverman
Tory MPs have been left “appalled” at a Home Office decision to paint over murals of cartoon figures at an asylum centre for lone children, i understands.
i revealed on Tuesday that immigration minister, Robert Jenrick, had ordered the removal of murals of figures such as Mickey Mouse and Baloo from The Jungle Book because they were “too welcoming” in April, although staff initially refused to act.
The Home Office confirmed yesterday that the work was carried out on Tuesday. It is understood outside contractors were used.
Despite Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, having backed Mr Jenrick over the controversial move, senior Whitehall officials and some moderate Tory MPs are understood to be concerned and aghast at the decision, which has been described as “abject cruelty” and “trivial nastiness”.