THE Home Office has been officially asked to extend the consultation period on its planned immigration reforms after it ran concurrently with the devolved nations’ parliamentary elections, meaning those governments were effectively blocked from offering their opinions.

The Home Office ran its consultation on Priti Patel’s New Plan for Immigration, which campaigners say risks “breaching international law”, from March 24 until May 6.

The pre-election period in both Scotland and Wales ran from March 25 until May 6.

This significant overlap meant that restrictions on the use of public resources were in place and the Scottish and Welsh governments were unable to submit their views on the Home Office’s planned changes to UK immigration law.

READ MORE: Deeply hostile UK Government is silencing Scots voices on asylum plans

The Scottish Refugee Council, which was not affected by these pre-election rules, warned that a “deeply hostile UK Government” was essentially silencing devolved governments’ voices by running their consultation over this period.

The UK Government’s own rules on consultations say that they “should not generally be launched during local or national election periods”.

The rules say that “if exceptional circumstances make [it] absolutely essential” to run a consultation during such a period, the Propriety and Ethics team at the Cabinet Office should be consulted first.

When the Home Office was asked if it had checked with the Cabinet Office’s ethics team before launching a consultation to run during the period when it knew that devolved governments would be unable to contribute, a spokesperson denied that the rules applied.

When the Cabinet Office was asked if its ethics teams had been consulted by the Home Office before the immigration consultation was launched, no reply was received.

The National:

A Home Office spokesperson said that the consultation had been launched before the pre-election period began and so the rules did not apply, as they only referred to the launch and not the run date.

Asked if that was a bad-faith reading of rules which were meant to prevent a consultation being run during election periods, the spokesperson strongly refuted that was the case.

The Home Office’s official line reads: “The consultation for the New Plan for Immigration was launched before the pre-election period in Scotland and across the UK, and is in line with pre-election guidance.”

However, the Welsh Government has asked that the consultation period be extended to allow their newly elected representatives a say.

READ MORE: WATCH: Police detain young woman protesting against Home Office raid in Glasgow

Although the election is over, ministers have not yet been sworn in, which limits the statements a devolved government can release.

Regardless, a Welsh Government spokesperson told The National: “We have asked the Home Office to extend the consultation to give our new government time to consider and respond to the UK Government’s New Plan for Immigration.”

The National has asked the Home Office if it will extend the period as the Welsh Government has requested, or if it is happy to have closed its consultation on immigration law changes without the devolved governments having had any input.

A Scottish Government spokeperson said they had expressed their "extreme disappointment" at being excluded from the consultation to the Home Office.

They told The National: "We have expressed our extreme disappointment at the timing of the New Plan for Immigration and associated consultation.  

"We have called for meaningful engagement and collaboration with the Scottish Government and other devolved governments in relation to any reform of the UK asylum and immigration systems."

The news comes as events in Glasgow put the differences of opinion on immigration in Scotland and England into sharp contrast.

Hundreds of protesters, now backed by SNP politicians, have turned out to block a Home Office van after a dawn raid on people living on Kenmure Street in the city’s south side.