Nicola Sturgeon responds to reports that UK Government plans to use Scottish island for refugee processing
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has ripped into reported UK Government plans to process asylum seekers and refugees on a remote Scottish island that would see human beings treated “like cattle”.
This morning The Times reported that proposals favoured by Downing Street to “prevent abuse of the system and criminality” include purchasing retired cruise ships to house migrants off the coast of Britain, as well constructing a “processing centre” on a Scottish island.
Responding to the report on social media, the First Minister said the UK Government “can rest assured that any proposal to treat human beings like cattle in a holding pen will be met with the strongest possible opposition from me.”
Boris Johnson’s team are also said to have weighed up the option of using decommissioned offshore oil platforms in the North Sea to hold asylum seekers, but were warned off the idea by industry experts who raised safety concerns.
If follows reports earlier this week that Home Secretary Priti Patel ordered officials to explore plans for building an asylum processing centre on a remote volcanic island in the south Atlantic - more than 4,000 miles from the UK.
Home Office officials were instructed to look into the feasibility of transferring asylum seekers arriving in the UK to a centre on Ascension Island, a British overseas territory, according to the Financial Times.
In the end, it appears that Ms Patel decided not to go ahead with the scheme, however the Home Office made no attempt to deny that the idea had been considered.
Labour condemned the scheme as "inhumane, completely impractical and wildly expensive".
A Home Office official said: "The UK has a long and proud history of offering refuge to those who need protection. Tens of thousands of people have rebuilt their lives in the UK and we will continue to provide safe and legal routes in the future.
"As ministers have said we are developing plans to reform policies and laws around illegal migration and asylum to ensure we are able to provide protection to those who need it, while preventing abuse of the system and the criminality associated with it."
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