THE Tories have been accused of lifting policies out of “far right playbooks” amid reports that they are planning to send asylum seekers to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic.

It's been reported that ministers were resurrecting the plan, which was rejected as unworkable when floated in 2020.

The idea was first proposed by former home secretary Priti Patel (below) although was eventually scrapped.

However, under new legislation, asylum seekers would be sent on a one-way flight to the island rather than being taken to the overseas territory temporarily.

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It is reportedly being considered as an alternative to the Government’s Rwanda policy which has been hit with legal challenges ever since it was first announced.

Confusion over reports

Following the reports, the Government is yet to deny that the Ascension Island plans are being discussed.

Home Office minister Sarah Dines told Sky News: “We’re very confident that Rwanda is going to work but of course lots of other alternatives are always discussed.

“It wouldn’t be right to talk about any particular country but you would expect the Government to look at additional measures.

“But we’re very confident that Rwanda is going to work.”

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Despite Dines’s refusal to deny the plans, it has been reported in Politico that the Home Office does not recognise the plans.

When asked why Ascension Island (below) was suitable, the minister continued: “Well I’m not going to confirm whether that’s a possibility.

“We’re looking at lots of different measures. We have discussions all the time as any responsible Government would with many countries.”

The Times reported the UK Government was in discussion with at least five countries.

The National: Ascension Island lies in the South Atlantic (Martin Cleaver/PA)

Dines added: “Times change. We look at all possibilities. This crisis in the Channel is urgent. We need to look at all possibilities and that’s what we’re doing.

“We’re determined to make sure there isn’t the pull factor for illegal migrants to come to this country basically to be abused by criminal gangs. These are international operations and it’s got to stop.”

What’s the response been?

In response to the reports, the Scottish Greens said that the Tories were continuing to pursue “reactionary and inhumane policies”.

The party’s justice spokesperson Maggie Chapman said: “Proposals like this expose how out of control and unfit for purpose the Home Office has become.

“What could be more abhorrent than pursuing these punitive and inhumane policies in order to punish some of the world’s most vulnerable people?

“The Home Secretary is sadistically fanning the flames of prejudice and lifting policies out of far-right playbooks. It is the kind of shameful politics that used to be associated with racist thugs and extremist groups but is now being implemented at the highest level of government.”

While a spokesperson for the Scottish Refugee Council said: “Just like the Rwanda plan, the UK government’s proposal to remove people seeking asylum to Ascension Island is yet another unworkable and inhumane policy.

“The Government previously considered this plan and rejected it after a feasibility study. It is also very unclear how it would work legally after the passing of the cruel Illegal Migration Act.

“To decrease the backlog and allow people to move on, make a home and contribute to their communities, the UK Government needs to invest in a fair and efficient asylum system.”

What has the PM said?

Rishi Sunak’s official spokesperson said he would not comment on “speculation” following the reports around Ascension Island.

They said: “We remain confident we will win the upcoming court case and continue our close relationship with the Rwandan government.”

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The spokesperson added they would not be “drawn into discussing specific speculation” although when asked if they were in talks with other countries about Rwanda-style deals, they said: “We are broadly looking, as indeed are other European countries, to expand migration partnerships to other countries.

“But again, I’m not going to get drawn into who they may or may not be.”