AN SNP MP has brutally summed up more than a decade of “chaotic” and “dehumanising” Tory immigration policy.

Taking a long-view on the Government’s record on immigration, SNP home affairs spokesperson Alison Thewliss rattled off a litany of Home Office scandals, failed Government bids to reduce immigration and “poisonous” attitudes towards migrants.

Speaking during the debate on the new Rwanda plan, which has torn the Tories apart as the Government attempts to circumvent the Supreme Court’s block on the deportation scheme, Thewliss predicted the policy “would not work”.

The Conservatives are in civil war over the bill, which would block asylum seekers from appealing against deportations on the grounds Rwanda is unsafe.

Thewliss said: “The UK’s approach to migration, both legal and illegal, has been nothing short of chaotic. Poisonous rhetoric swirling around the plight of the most vulnerable on the Channel on a stormy night. 

“I’d like to take a moment to reflect upon how the Tories have taken us to this parlous state. A former home secretary [Theresa May] doubled down on Labour’s hostile environment policy in a speech 11 long years ago.

“She promised to make life really difficult for those who came to our shores: to deport first and hear appeals later. The Immigration Acts of 2014 and 2016 fostered a toxic culture of suspicion and disbelief in the Home Office, turning health staff, employers and landlords into border guards.

“This led to the Windrush scandal, to the Toeic scandal [where foreign students were wrongly accused of cheating on their visa application tests], to lives fractured and still not put back together.

READ MORE: Keir Starmer: 'If you want fewer immigrants, vote Labour'

“To ‘go home’ vans and the highly skilled migrants 322(5) scandal [which saw people refused leave to remain for small errors on tax forms], people being forcibly removed despite having done nothing wrong, directly to the dehumanisation found by the Brook House Inquiry [which uncovered shocking abuses at an immigration removal centre], and to the rampant spread of Covid and scabies in Napier Barracks.”

Moving to more recent policies, she noted how the Government had cracked down on migrants illegally coming to Britain in the backs of lorries, after 39 Vietnamese people died in the back of a vehicle in 2019, which precipitated the growth in small boats crossings over the Channel.

Thewliss added:  “They tightened up on the lorries and then we had small boats and the talk got ever tougher. The cry of ‘stop the boats’ went out, the Nationality and Borders Act came and went, the boats kept coming.

“The Illegal Migration Act was passed and, oddly enough, this didn’t prove to be much of a deterrent either. And today we have the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill before us, which the Tories will claim to be the one to do it. Well they think third time’s the charm. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, I’m not terribly convinced.”

The National: Rishi Sunak

The Glasgow Central MP also pointed out that the Home Office’s permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft told a committee earlier this week that the department had no evidence it would work as a deterrent.

Thewliss added: “This is policy in a death spiral: tougher and tougher and tougher. Turn the screw, threaten people with rendition flights to Rwanda. It won’t work because nothing they have done before has worked.

“Why? Because it doesn’t deal with the reasons people are coming. People will continue to put themselves in small boats because they feel there is no alternative.

“They come to reunite with family, because of historic ties and the English language. It’s all too easy to dehumanise, to speak of swarms and hoards.

“To speak of those who try and come here with no papers, those who somehow want to cheat the system.”