THE SNP have called for Home Secretary Priti Patel to resign after a judge ruled that keeping asylum seekers in Napier Barracks was unlawful.

The case, brought by six asylum seekers, argued that the barracks were “unsafe” following a fire and a Covid outbreak that infected almost 200 people.

Public Health England (PHE) had warned that the site was inappropriate, but the Home Office used it regardless.

Patel’s decision to use the barracks has been described as a “disgraceful policy decision” by the SNP, who have urged her to “take full responsibility and resign”.

In February of this year the Home Secretary claimed that Napier Barracks had been “adapted in line with and in light of Public Health England guidance”, saying separately that the site was “Covid compliant”.

READ MORE: Home Office decision to house migrants in 'squalid' barracks ruled unlawful

Those statements were contradicted by the judge, who said the Home Office had departed from the PHE advice in “a fundamental way without good reason”.

Far from being Covid compliant, Justice Linden said conditions in the barracks made it “virtually inevitable that large numbers of residents would contract Covid-19”.

Commenting on the news, the SNP’s shadow home secretary Stuart McDonald MP tweeted to call for Patel to step down.

He wrote: “Use of unsafe barracks was a disgraceful policy decision by the Home Office.

“The Home Secretary ignored clear public health advice and put hundreds of people in danger with a Covid outbreak ‘inevitable’.

“She should take full responsibility and resign.”

Speaking later, McDonald (below) said the case was “yet another example of how the Tories treat the most vulnerable in society”.

Accusing Patel of “blatantly” ignoring public health advice and putting hundreds of people in danger, he went on: “Whether the decision to dump hundreds of vulnerable people in dangerous accommodation was based on money, or pandering to pressure from the likes of Nigel Farage about the use of hotels is unclear.

“What is clear is that it had nothing to do with the health and wellbeing of the asylum seekers who have fled from, and experienced on their journey just to get here, unimaginable horrors.

The National:

“Priti Patel must scrap the hostile environment, including the disgraceful immigration raids, detention centres, No Recourse to Public Funds, and her proposals to increase reliance on old army barracks and other similar facilities for housing asylum seekers.

“Scotland has made it clear it wants better than this.”

It is not the first time that Priti Patel has faced calls to resign, as she would have been expected to step down following findings that she broke the ministerial code and engaged in "bullying" behaviour.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson faces court battle over Priti Patel 'bullying', judge rules

Sir Alex Allan, the UK Government's former independent adviser on standards, stepped down after Boris Johnson over-ruled his findings and refused to admonish Patel.

The National: People seeking asylum – Napier Barracks

Following the Napier ruling, Dr Lisa Doyle, the director of advocacy at the Refugee Council, called for the barracks (above) to be “immediately” closed.

She said: “This hugely important judgment highlights the level of harm and complete lack of dignity people seeking asylum are being forced to endure. Nobody should be made to live in these terrible conditions and have their health put at risk.

“This government must close Napier Barracks immediately and start treating people who have already experienced great trauma in their lives with compassion and humanity.”

READ MORE: Refugee NHS worker hits out at Priti Patel's immigration plans

A Home Office spokesperson said: "During the height of the pandemic, to ensure asylum seekers were not left destitute, additional accommodation was required at extremely short notice.

"Such accommodation provided asylum seekers a safe and secure place to stay. Throughout this period our accommodation providers and sub-contractors have made improvements to the site and continue to do so.

"It is disappointing that this judgment was reached on the basis of the site prior to the significant improvement works which have taken place in difficult circumstances. Napier will continue to operate and provide safe and secure accommodation.

"We will carefully consider the ruling and our next steps."