TORY government plans to send asylum seekers to offshore processing centres despite warnings from experts have been met with a chorus of condemnation.

The SNP described the policy as “inhumane” and warned the only way for Scotland to detach itself from it is to build a fair migration system with independence.

The Home Secretary will introduce the Nationality and Borders Bill next week to enable the UK Government to send asylum seekers abroad, as she starts talks with her counterparts in Denmark – which passed its own laws earlier this month to enable the processing of asylum seekers in Rwanda – over sharing their centre.

The SNP’s shadow home affairs secretary Stuart McDonald (below) has urged Patel to rule out plans for offshore detention centres, highlighting that the move to follow the Australian system, which uses Papua New Guinea, has been widely condemned – including by Refugee Action, the Refugee Council and the Scottish Refugee Council, and the UN representative to the UK, Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor.

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READ MORE: SNP condemn Tory plans to process asylum seekers offshore

In her hard-hitting evidence to the Home Affairs Committee, Madeline Gleeson, an expert on Australia’s asylum policy, warned that “any state which is a signatory to international conventions” or “any state which considers itself to be a democratic society based on respect for common decency” should not be considering that offshore processing model.

The lawyer, who specialises in human rights and refugee law, also pointed out the sky-high cost of such a system after Australia spent $7.6 billion (£4.1bn) housing an estimated 3000 people in such centres.

McDonald said: “It is horrifying that the Home Secretary is ploughing ahead with these plans, which ... would breach the UK’s obligations under Human Rights laws and the 1951 Refugee Convention.

“Scotland wants no part in these inhumane policies. As Scotland has shown by standing up for those who are at risk of being deported, we want a fair and humane migration system, which is based on compassion, dignity and respect. The only way we will get that is with independence.

“The Home Office already has an abysmal track record – from depriving asylum seekers of the right to work and pitiful levels of asylum support to the disgraceful treatment of those in detention. But plans to ship some of the most vulnerable people in the world miles away to remote island detention centres is beyond reprehensible and doesn’t make sense.

“The plans will cost extraordinary sums as Australia has demonstrated. This is a gross misuse of public money as we continue to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis, as well as deal with a damaging and costly Brexit – especially when we know of the trauma it causes and the fact that it breaks international law.

“The UK Government is committed under international law to provide a safe haven for those fleeing persecution – these plans must be axed immediately.”

Gary Christie, from the Scottish Refugee Council, said: “These nonsensical proposals are a shockingly cruel and brutal tactic of the UK Government’s hostile environment.

“People seeking protection in the UK after fleeing war, terror and oppression deserve to have their cases heard within the UK, and should be entitled to a safe and secure place to stay while awaiting a decision.

“Outsourcing our country’s responsibilities through offshore processing centres cannot fulfil these basic rights.

“This disgraceful announcement has also been made without consultation.”

Robina Qureshi, from Positive Action in Housing, added: “The UK doesn’t actually have a refugee ‘problem’ and Scotland certainly does not. And it certainly is less of a ‘problem’ than it was in 2002, a year after the bombing of Afghanistan and Iraq created hundreds of thousands of refugees.

“Asylum numbers are historically low and falling, not rising. 36,000 as opposed to over 100k in 2002; waiting times for Home Office decisions have soared because the Home Office is slow to make decisions, and even slower since the pandemic.”