THE Tories have been accused of lacking compassion, imagination, or even “basic humanity” after attempting to ignore international courts and deport people seeking asylum to Rwanda.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among the figures to hit out at the Conservatives for their attempt to ignore the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which came on the same day as four people died trying to cross the Channel to England.

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Jonathan Gullis, a former Conservative minister, had attempted to force Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to ignore rulings from the ECHR over the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda.

However, his Asylum Seekers (Removal to Safe Countries) Bill was rejected by MPs by a vote of 188 to 69 – despite having the backing of big name Tories such as Priti Patel, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Nadine Dorries, according to The Telegraph.

It is unusual for ten-minute rule motions such as Gullis’s to be objected to and they are usually allowed to proceed through the first stage without any debate.

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Speaking in the Commons, SNP home affairs spokesperson Alison Thewliss said the bill was “offensive, grubby, [and] dangerous”, adding that Gullis would withdraw it if he had “any sense or compassion”.

“The Tories would have us ignore the European Convention on Human Rights, ignore the 1951 Refugee Convention, ignore the very humanity and compassion that human beings feel when recognising the plight of others,” the Glasgow Central MP went on, before stopping amid heckles from the Tory benches (shown below).

The National:

“The Tories have form in breaking international law in limited and specific ways, and they want to do so again.”

Thewliss said Gullis must lack compassion or the imagination required to understand the plight of people seeking asylum.

“No one is illegal. This bill just might be, please object to it,” the SNP MP finished.

Gullis told MPs that he had introduced his bill because, “whilst we may have freed ourselves from EU control, we still have [a] quasi legislative supranational institution that fundamentally undermines decisions made in our democratically elected and sovereign Parliaments”.

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The Tory MP said he wanted to change the law “to explicitly ignore the European Court of Human Rights from meddling in our sovereignty on this specific matter”.

Commenting on the debate, SNP MP Anne McLaughlin said on Twitter that it felt like “watching a meeting of a new far-right party”.

“I would die of shame if I had brought forward the bill that Jonathan Gullis MP has just presented. Scotland, time to go,” she added.

Elsewhere, the First Minister said the UK needed to “stop its current approach to those seeking asylum and instead put some much needed humanity into it”.

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She said the Tory government must “ensure safe routes for people who need it and reduce the necessity for people to get into small boats and lose their lives all too often in the process”.

Asked about the four people who died, and the 43 who were rescued, after a small boat incident in the Channel on Wednesday, Sturgeon said the news was “heartbreaking”.

The SNP leader told LBC that the people attempting the crossing had been “fleeing conditions most of us can’t even begin to imagine”.

“Nobody gets into a small boat in dangerous waters unless they are really desperate to build a better life for themselves and for their children so our hearts should go out to anybody in that situation.”

She added: “I just think all of the Tory approach to this lacks basic humanity. If it was as easy as ‘cracking down’ then the problem would have been solved.

“These are human beings that are not lightly making the decision to leave their own countries. They’re fleeing conditions that even in these tough times we’re living in here in the UK most of us can’t even begin to imagine.”

Sturgeon said the Tories should “extend the hand of human kindness” to people seeking asylum.

A UK Government spokesperson said it that believed that its own bill would “be in line with approaches taken by a number of other countries” which are “well established in international law”.

The Prime Minister said previously that the current asylum system was “not fair, not right and it needs to be fixed”. He said that the backlog of asylum claims would be dealt with by the end of 2023.