AN international charity is providing care to asylum seekers living at a former RAF airbase in Essex.

Medecins Sans Frontieres, the medical charity also known as Doctors Without Borders, said it is now treating people housed in RAF Wethersfield, a disused airbase in Home Secretary James Cleverly’s Braintree constituency.

The non-government organisation, known for emergency relief in conflict zones, said it was the first time it has opened a project working with people seeking sanctuary in the UK.

The announcement comes as Downing Street denied Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had overruled the Home Office’s plans to close dozens more asylum hotels.

Braintree and Witham Times: Airbase - RAF WethersfieldAirbase - RAF Wethersfield

The Times reported that the department in October drew up proposals to shut 100 hotels by January, but the Prime Minister ordered the target to be reduced to 50 because of concerns a spike in crossings in the summer could force them to re-open.

His official spokesman said: “Those claims are not true, hotel numbers have always been determined exclusively by Home Office need.

“The Prime Minister has not intervened in those decisions. It is right that we’re making progress in closing hotels. The first 50 are due to be closed by the end of this month and there will be more in the coming months.”

The Government is housing asylum seekers on military bases and the Bibby Stockholm barge in an effort to reduce the cost of hotel bills.