After the Prime Minister’s statement on Tuesday, I’m cautiously hopeful that we could see the Novotel returned to its proper use in a matter of months. The key will be delivery.

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister outlined new measures to tackle illegal immigration, unveiling a new deal on returning illegal migrants to Albania within days of landing, ensuring it is added to the list of safe countries, and pledging to clear the asylum backlog by next Christmas.

Among other points, he said that in the new year the Government would legislate to make it impossible for those who come here illegally to stay and that the laws would be changed to make it easier to deport illegal arrivals. Crucially for Ipswich, we were also told that the Government would be rapidly phasing out the use of hotels to house migrants and that facilities like disused holiday camps would be used instead.

East Anglian Daily Times: Ipswich MP Tom Hunt is ensuring the issue of the town's Novotel is not forgottenIpswich MP Tom Hunt is ensuring the issue of the town's Novotel is not forgotten (Image: Charlotte Bond)

I’m cautiously hopeful that the measures the PM outlined could see the Novotel returned to its proper use as a 4-star hotel within a matter of months. Having been campaigning on this issue since it was brought to my attention, and having pledged to raise it every week in Parliament, it’s welcome news to see that the Government is getting serious about the totally unacceptable use of hotels to house migrants.

In his statement, the PM said: "It is unfair and appalling that we are spending £5.5 million every day on using hotels to house asylum seekers. We must end this. We will shortly bring forward a range of alternative sites, such as disused holiday parks, former student halls and surplus military sites."

Agreed. I’ve been banging the drum on this issue for months, and I’m glad the PM is listening.

I have always thought that the way to get the Novotel back would have to be at the national level in Parliament, by putting pressure on the Government and ministers. While I supported Ipswich Borough Council in trying to get an injunction for the Novotel through the courts, I suspected that the only way we were going to see action is by getting the Government to take the issue seriously.

Along with a group of MPs with similar problems in their constituencies, I have been raising the Novotel at every opportunity in Parliament and through meetings with ministers up to the very top.

Just this week, I met with the Prime Minister ahead of his statement for a working breakfast at Downing Street. He outlined his determination to tackle illegal immigration and also made clear his support for the Rwanda scheme, which I welcomed.

The week before, I met with the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman with a significant group of colleagues, where we discussed our concerns about illegal immigration. What’s clear is it’s not just the Novotel. The majority of us who met with the Home Secretary have hotels in our constituencies that have been housing those who have entered our country.

I’ve also had meetings with the Immigration Minister, Robert Jenrick to highlight the Novotel issue. Last month, I was even able to secure a parliamentary debate on the Novotel and make it very clear to the minister how overwhelmingly people in Ipswich feel that using it to house migrants is absolutely wrong.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party continue to show they can’t be trusted to get tough on illegal immigration. Keir Starmer looked visibly uncomfortable during the PM’s statement, and his long record of voting against every single common sense border control measure speaks for itself. Just recently, the Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper even led an urgent question in Parliament against using Napier Barracks to house migrants, which would only lead to more pressure to use hotels. It’s clear that the problem would be much worse under Labour.

Ultimately, the only lasting solution to this crisis will be to finally stem the tide of migrant crossings into the UK in the first place. These crossings are not only unfair, but dangerous for those who undertake them.

None of this is to say we can’t be generous to genuine refugees. We should be. Ipswich has a proud legacy of welcoming people in times of need. There is a settled community of Albanians here in Ipswich, for example, who came at a time when Albania was not safe.

But today Albania is undeniably a safe country. It is a NATO member and an EU accession candidate. People from safe European countries simply should not be making illegal crossings into the UK. I’ve been saying this for a long time, and the PM made it clear on Tuesday that he agrees.

I feel that the Government is taking this issue seriously, and the measures that the Prime Minister outlined on Tuesday give me hope that we could see the Novotel issue finally addressed once and for all. The new measures go further and are more robust than I've heard before. Of course, the key will be delivery.

I’ll be keeping a close eye and will keep raising it in Parliament every week until we see results. I won’t let up until the Novotel is back to its proper use.