ASYLUM seekers could face deportation to a remote volcanic island in a “plan B” move by the UK Government should its Rwanda policy fail.

Ministers are understood to be drawing up proposals to send migrants 4000 miles as an alternative.

Ascension Island, located in the middle of the South Atlantic, was previously considered as a location to process asylum seekers.

Ministers believe its remote location would help create a strong deterrent factor for migrants planning to cross the Channel.

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The Times reports that the UK Government is also in negotiations with at least five other countries over a similar deportation deal to the one agreed with Rwanda.

This involves sending asylum seekers on a one-way flight rather than taking them to an overseas territory temporarily.

The Rwanda policy has been hit with legal challenges ever since it was first announced in April last year.

It was ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal in June due to deficiencies in the Rwandan asylum system.

Ministers are confident however that the Supreme Court will overrule the decision in a hearing due to begin in October.

Should this pass, it would allow deportation flights to take off as early as January.

The alternative plans being discussed would either replace the Rwanda policy or be pursued alongside it.

A senior UK Government source told The Times: “It’s pragmatic to consider all options and it makes sense to draw up proposals to stop the boats that could work alongside our Rwanda policy.

“We’re still confident that our Rwanda scheme is lawful but having alternative proposals on the table would provide us with a back-up if we’re frustrated legally.

“Voters would expect us to leave no stone unturned and that is the right and sensible thing to do.”

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, Home Secretary Suella Braverman (below) said “all options were on the table” should the Supreme Court rule against the Government.

The National:

However, any migrants sent to Ascension Island or other UK territories would not remain there on a permanent basis.

This means the policy would depend on the Government being able to find a permanent destination for them.

Proposals to use Ascension Island were first revealed under Boris Johnson and Priti Patel in September 2020 with the possibility that migrants could return to the UK if their asylum claim was successful.

However, the proposals were dropped after a feasibility study carried out by the Foreign Office declared Ascension Island unviable for various reasons, including inadequate power, water supplies and a lack of hospital on the island.

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Reacting to the news, Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council said: “This is more shameful demonisation of men, women and children fleeing form countries such as Afghanistan, the bloodshed in Syria and Sudan and persecution in Iran.

“It is time for the Government to stop its obsession with unworkable and inhumane schemes that treat people like human cargo and address the shocking mismanagement of the asylum system with seriousness and accountability.”

When asked about the Ascension Island plans by Sky News, safeguarding minister Sarah Dines said "times change" when grilled on why it was being considered after being rejected by Boris Johnson's former government. 

She said: "We look at all possibilities. This crisis in the Channel is urgent, we need to look at all possibilities and that is what we are doing. 

"We are determined to make sure there isn't the pull factor for illlegal migrants to come to this country, basically to be abused by criminal organised gangs. 

"These are international operations and they have got to stop."

In spite of the minister's comments however, it has been reported in Politico that the Home Office is not aware of the plans.