BORIS Johnson has been accused of promoting “toxic” immigration policies to stave off a Tory rebellion over the partygate scandal.

The Conservative government is reportedly plotting a series of policy announcements, codenamed Operation Red Meat, to help relieve pressure on the embattled Prime Minister.

Among the proposals is a plan to put the military in charge of stopping people from crossing the Channel in small boats to reach the UK, according to the Times.

The paper also says No 10 is also working on a scheme to send migrants to African countries such as Ghana and Rwanda “for processing and resettlement”.

Under the proposals, a rear admiral would direct the Border Force, coastguard, fisheries protection and customs and excise to keep track of and “intercept” those crossing the Channel.

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The Times adds that Admiral Sir Antony Radakin, chief of the defence staff, was confident the scheme would ensure “no-one gets to the UK on their own terms”, with people escorted to new “migrant hubs” on land for processing.

The Home Office has not commented on the claims, though ministers are expected to face questions about the reports during a Commons debate on Monday afternoon.

The SNP's shadow home secretary Stuart McDonald MP said using anti-immigration proposals to get Tory backbenchers back on side was “shameful”.

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He commented: "Reports that the Tory government intends to put the military in charge of targeting vulnerable refugees in rickety boats and send them to overseas detention facilities are utterly appalling.

"It is shameful that Boris Johnson is putting forward these toxic policies in a desperate attempt to woo his right-wing backbench MPs, distract from the scandals engulfing his party, and to save his own skin."

The SNP MP said his party has been demanding the establishment of “secure safe and legal routes” for asylum seekers and refugees – including, he said, “refugees from Afghanistan left behind after the UK's chaotic exit from the country”.

McDonald added: "Instead, Boris Johnson and Priti Patel have ramped up anti-refugee rhetoric and lurched even further to the extremes.

"Despite the Channel crossing tragedies we have witnessed, it speaks volumes of how low this broken, scandal-ridden Tory government is willing to go to put its own interests first."

Operation Red Meat also includes plans to scrap the BBC licence fee, signalled by Nadine Dorries’ attack on the corporation over the weekend.

The Prime Minister is also hoping to appeal to right-wing backbenchers by easing Covid measures and tackling Downing Street’s drinking culture after officials partied their way through the pandemic.

Johnson’s spokesperson said “all options” were on the table when asked if migrants could be sent to Africa for processing. He added: “We remain determined to prevent further loss of life in the Channel and break the business model of dangerous criminal people smugglers. It’s right that we pursue all options to prevent illegal crossings, to protect life at sea.

“The UK armed forces already work closely with Border Force in these operations, given their expertise and experience in maritime operations. But beyond that I’m not going to get into speculation about further discussions we may or may not have on how we improve our response.”

The spokesperson was also questioned over reports Downing Street was “throwing some red meat” at Tories to distract from the partygate scandal. “None of these issues are things that we have not been talking about, or not been seeking to address, for some time,” he replied.

“You'll appreciate we have continually kept our approaches to small boats under review and the culture secretary and Prime Minister talked about the need for BBC reform many times. So as you'd expect, we'll continue to deliver on those policy priorities.”