A row has broken out between the MP representing Barton Stacey and the Liberal Democrats over a proposed migration camp near the village.

Following a comment by the Liberal Democrats in Test Valley, which called a petition jointly started by Caroline Nokes a “populist knee-jerk reaction” to the camp, Nokes claimed that the group had “come out in support” of the proposal.

The Liberal Democrats have hit back, stating their opposition to the plans and claiming that migration camps like the proposed “often become a focal point for far-right extremists.”

The argument came following a comment from borough councillor Celia Dowden, of the Test Valley Liberal Democrats, who said that the party had “a duty to protect our environment, residents’ interests and the Asylum Seekers” regarding the camp, which is planned to hold up to 500 single men who are seeking asylum in the UK

She said: “[The petition] is a populist knee jerk reaction which we cannot support,” adding that Nokes and Cllr Phil North, the petition’s co-founders, “should be aware of our legal responsibilities and should be supportive of these desperate refugees who have crossed the world escaping from horrific regimes and wars.”

Subsequently, Nokes, the Conservative MP for Romsey and Southampton North, told the Romsey Advertiser that she was “astonished Test Valley Liberal Democrats have come out in support of this proposal.”

She said: “Leading charities working with refugees have described this proposal as an ‘open prison camp’, which is unsuitable for the needs of vulnerable asylum seekers.

“It is located beside a major trunk road, where the closest retail outlet is the service station, just 450m away. “It can only be accessed by walking alongside the 70mph dual carriageway and I am deeply concerned about the Highway safety implications.”

She added: “I do wonder if the Liberal Democrats have even looked at the bleakness of the site, its total lack of services, the lack of drainage and considered what sort of facility it could ever provide for the vulnerable?”

Responding to Nokes, the chair of Test Valley Liberal Democrats, David Hall, denied they supported the proposal, and that their opposition was to the petition.

He told the Andover Advertiser: “We believe that large camps are inhumane and ineffective. Camps like this create a huge strain on local communities and often become a focal point for far-right extremists.

He said that local believed they had a “moral duty to find better solutions and not just move the problem somewhere else.”

He continued: “There is plenty of evidence that caring for smaller groups in the community keeps refugees safer and enables them to make a positive contribution to our society. While our local MP focuses on whipping up fear and division and trying to score misplaced political points, we are concentrating on helping her own Government find a better solution to this problem.”

According to Test Valley Borough Council, a decision on the camp, located next to the A303, is set to be made in the next few weeks.