A SCOTS MP has questioned the accuracy of migration figures the Home Secretary presented to parliament, saying Priti Patel was at best “misinformed”, and at worst “deliberately misleading the public”.

Carol Monaghan said the figures Patel produced earlier this month suggested that a low proportion of migrants entering the UK were legitimate asylum claimants.

However, she said analysis from the Refugee Council had revealed that almost two-thirds of people who cross the Channel in small boats are considered to be genuine refugees and are allowed to remain in the UK.

The charity based its report on Home Office and FOI data from January 2020 to May this year, and found that 91% of people came from 10 countries where human rights abuses and persecution are widespread.

The National: SNP candidate Carol Monaghan pictured at her offices Dumbarton Rd Glasgow;29/4/15

Monaghan (above), the SNP member for Glasgow North West, said this directly contradicted Patel’s declaration to the House of Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee.

Patel said: “All the data and evidence has shown this – that in the last 12 months alone, 70% of the individuals who have come to our country illegally via small boats are single men, who are effectively economic migrants. They are not genuine asylum seekers.”

The MP, who has spearheaded a campaign in Westminster for a more compassionate asylum policy, has contradicted Patel’s claims in light of the charity report, arguing that her dissemination of inaccurate information raises wider questions about Government credibility.

It comes after it emerged individuals could be stripped of their British citizenship without warning under a planned rule change sneaked into the Nationality and Borders Bill.

The Bill’s Clause 9 – “Notice of decision to deprive a person of citizenship” – was updated earlier this month, and exempts the Government from having to give notice if it is not “reasonably practicable” to do so, or in the interests of national security, diplomatic relations or otherwise in the public interest.

However, critics say removing citizenship is already contentious, and scrapping the need for notice would make the Home Secretary’s powers even more draconian.

Monaghan has tabled a Private Member’s Bill on the issue of UK asylum policy. Her Asylum Seekers (Permission to Work) Bill, which calls for a fairer, more humane treatment of asylum claimants while they await a decision, is due to have its Second Reading in the Commons on December 3.

It proposes that asylum seekers should be granted permission to work six months after lodging an asylum claim, instead of the current one-year wait, and urges the removal of limits placed on the types of work they can pursue.

She said the Refugee Council analysis raised serious questions over the validity and accuracy of Patel’s statements: “At best, Priti Patel is misinformed, and at worst, she is deliberately misleading the public in order to justify her callous immigration policy.

“I urge her to substantiate her claim with concrete evidence, or alternatively, to retract her statement and issue an apology.

“Government Ministers – and all Parliamentarians – have a duty to present the public with reliable, factual information, and it is utterly irresponsible to promote mistruths in order to legitimise a policy agenda.

“By erroneously arguing that the majority of migrants entering the UK are dishonestly claiming asylum, the Home Secretary is promoting the narrative that most asylum seeker applicants are striving to take advantage of our asylum system, and this is quite simply false.

“In fact, the majority of these people have fled persecution, violence and conflict, and have come to the United Kingdom seeking refuge and the chance to rebuild their lives.

“Therefore, Ms Patel’s divisive and inflammatory rhetoric is not only inaccurate but also incredibly harmful: it stokes up resentment and invalidates the traumatic experiences of asylum seekers, in doing so exacerbating their suffering.”

The Home Office has been approached for comment.