ACTOR Brian Cox has insisted that the UK’s asylum system is “a shambles” as he hit out at the UK Government’s “awful scheme” to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The Succession star is one of a host of well-known figures to sign an open letter to political leaders, urging them to “commit to a fair new plan for refugees”.

The letter calls on politicians to ensure protection for those fleeing war and persecution by “upholding the UK’s commitment under international law to the right to claim asylum and by scrapping the Rwanda scheme”.

Another signatory, General Lord Richard Dannatt, a former head of the British Army, said: “It is clear that the current system for refugees in the UK is in a terrible mess.”

He criticised the Government’s “dogged pursuit of the unpopular plan to send people seeking protection to Rwanda”, branding this “astonishing”.

READ MORE: I work in PR - this is everything wrong with Labour's strategy

Lord Dannatt added: “The failure to fully support Afghans fleeing the Taliban is shameful.

“This country needs a proper plan – one that is fair for refugees and works for communities across Britain.

“This letter to party leaders has come at a critical time and I urge them to take serious note. This chaos cannot be allowed to continue.”

Former England footballer turned BBC pundit Gary Lineker also signed the letter, along with actors David Morrissey, Juliet Stevenson and Sophie Okonedo.

Other signatories include the author Kathy Lette, Christina McAnea, the general secretary of the trade union Unison, and Simon Rix, a musician in the band the Kaiser Chiefs.

It comes in the wake of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak putting forward emergency legislation in a bid to get around the Supreme Court’s block on previous plans to send asylum seekers to the African nation.

MPs will get their first chance to debate and vote on the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill on Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of the vote, Dundee-born Cox said: “The UK’s asylum system is in a shambles – not least with the Government’s continued attempts to push through the awful scheme to send people to Rwanda.”

The actor, who won a Golden Globe award for his role as media tycoon Logan Roy in the hit drama series Succession, added: “We need a total rethink.

“Political leaders must create a system that is not just properly managed but is fair and has compassion at its heart.”

A survey commissioned by the coalition group Together With Refugees found less than a fifth of people (18%) in Britain believe think the UK Government’s approach to the asylum system is working well.

Less than a quarter (24%) think the Government’s approach to the asylum system is likely to work well in the future, the research suggested, with 80% of those surveyed backing an asylum system that is “well managed, fair and compassionate”.

Speaking as Together With Refugees launched its new Fair Begins Here campaign, Lineker said: “Refugees have escaped unthinkable horrors in their home countries.

“We need a new system that reflects the will of the British people who have opened their homes, donated and volunteered in their local communities.

“That’s why I’m backing this new campaign – because fair really can begin here.”

Sabir Zazai, chair of Together With Refugees and CEO of the Scottish Refugee Council, who himself arrived in the UK as an asylum seeker in 1999, said: “I know what it’s like to flee in terror.

“I know what it’s like to try and make your way to safety by whatever means possible. And I know what it’s like to try and rebuild your life in a completely strange land.

“Now, in my work with refugees, I see a more compassionate Britain, where a rich tapestry of people from across the country go out of their way to show their support. They open their homes, they give huge amounts of their time, they speak out, they donate.”

He added: “This country needs a totally new start for our asylum system, one that we can all be proud of and that can work for everyone, those seeking sanctuary and those offering protection.”

The UK Government has been contacted for comment.