NICOLA Sturgeon says Scotland is ready to welcome refugees in a letter urging Priti Patel to take a "humane" approach to their suffering.

Released today, it calls on Patel to end the suffering of those trapped in "appalling" camp conditions five years after what was called the "migrant crisis".

The world's eyes were on the temporary camps in Greece and elsewhere in 2015 after the tragic death of Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi, who was just three when he drowned as his family attempted to cross to Europe for safety.

Five years on, tens of thousands of people fleeing conflict and persecution remain in these temporary camps, where overcrowding is rampant and conditions far below the levels needed to properly combat coronavirus.

The call has emerged in a letter from Sturgeon sent to Patel on Monday, when Patel was seen disembarking from a police boat in Dover amidst renewed debate about Channel crossings by migrants.

Nigel Farage is amongst those urging a hard line against the crossings, while the BBC and Sky News have both been subject to serious criticism for broadcasting footage shot from a larger vessel alongside dinghies overloaded with men and women.

Home Secretary Patel has told Tory MPs she is preparing major legal changes that will "send the left into meltdown" in what's expected to be a ramping up of Theresa May's "hostile environment" against new arrivals.

Those making the small boat crossings often pay organised gangs large amounts of money and expert organisations have hit out at the immigration policies that allow such exploitation to take place.

The National:

In her letter to the senior Tory, Sturgeon says the UK "must play its part" – and Scotland is ready to welcome those in need.

Focusing on the Greek camps, she said: "It is vital to lead by example and the UK must play its part in taking in refugees and giving them a safe and if required, permanent home.

"As you know, in Scotland and particularly in Glasgow, we have warmly welcomed refugees from Syria and other parts of the world fleeing persecution.

"We stand ready to play our part again and urge you to take a humane and welcoming approach to the resettlement of these refugees on the Aegean Islands."

The National:

The Glasgow Southside MSP told Patel: "One of my constituents spent time volunteering the Vial refugee camp on Chios, Greece where she saw first-hand the appallingly overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions where more than 35,000 men, women and children were trapped for months or years in camps designed for fewer than 6,000 people.

"While the focus of the UK news media has shifted since 2015, the situation in these camps is worse than ever with human rights such as access to shelter, clean drinking water and education being denied."

The letter follows a campaign by grassroots movement Europe Must Act (EMA).

Seven EMA groups across Scotland have lobbied their councillors and MSPs to accept asylum seekers from the camps.

And 33 MSPs from four political parties have now signed a Scottish Parliament motion in support of the campaign put forward by John Finnie MSP of the Green Party.

Spokesperson Rebecca Morton said: "We are delighted that the First Minister has responded to our calls for Scottish leaders to intervene in this matter.

"We believe the UK is duty bound to assist in the evacuation of the camps it helped to construct through its membership of the EU and to reverse the hostile migration policy it continues to support by funding an aggressive, militarised border regime in the Aegean sea.

"We will now be urging MPs to put pressure on the UK Government to play its part in putting an end to the humanitarian crisis at Europe’s borders."