A MINISTER in the Albanian government has shut down claims that the UK will send migrants to her country to process them.

It has been reported that the Conservative government is looking into sending migrants who cross the English Channel in small boats to the country in eastern Europe. The idea of sending migrants abroad for processing has been reported several times since Priti Patel became Home Secretary.

Following days of record numbers of journeys over the Channel in recent weeks, one minister said “offshore processing is our best hope now” to limit the crossings.

A report in The Times said talks are going on between the UK and Albanian governments to see migrants taken there within seven days of their arrival.

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But Olta Xhaçka, a Socialist Party member of her country’s parliament and its Europe and foreign minister, took to social media to brand the reports the “same old fake news”.

Meanwhile, the Refugee Council condemned the proposals. The organisation’s chief executive Enver Solomon said: “This is a desperate measure from a government that can only think of how to show cruelty and heartlessness towards our fellow human beings in search of safety.”

He urged the UK Government to focus on addressing Channel crossings by expanding safe routes to Britain, introducing a humanitarian visa system and “recognising that many people seeking asylum will have no other option but to take dangerous journeys”.

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However, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab would not deny that ministers are trying to secure a deal with the government 1500 miles away in Albania.

“We are looking at international partnerships that will take the processing out of the UK,” he said.

Specifically asked about Albania, he told Sky News: “That’s one country … We are willing to look with partners at whether it’s possible to do this international processing.”

He added: “A lot of these discussions are at a preliminary stage, it is much more than just one partner.”