AN SNP MP has asked if Keir Starmer will “disown” plans drafted up by Tony Blair’s Labour government to set up an asylum holding camp in Mull.

We told how newly released official papers revealed the plan, first put forward by one of then-PMs Blair’s closest aides, would have seen illegal migrants put straight back on the plane they arrived on with little or no right of appeal.

It also called for the creation of “safe havens” in countries such as Turkey and South Africa where refugees could be sent.

Reacting to the news, SNP MP Joanna Cherry said: “National Archives reveal that Labour under Blair were considering breaching then derogating from the #ECHR as well as sending asylum seekers to Africa.

The National:

“Will Keir Starmer disown this or is he planning something similar?”

The party's home affairs spokesperson Alison Thewliss added: "Just last month a Tory MP suggested sending asylum seekers to Orkney, and now we see the previous UK Labour government seriously considered doing the same - but to the Isle of Mull. 

"Recent reports suggest that Labour are looking at similar plans again, which is extremely concerning. The people of Scotland are compassionate and welcoming and we know that migration is good for our country. 

"We will continue to provide safe haven to those fleeing war and persecution in Scotland but shipping asylum seekers up to a Scottish island to be processed is not the answer."

A number of Tory MPs had also reacted to the news, drawing comparisons with the plans made by Blair’s government and their own party’s stance on immigration.

Deputy chair of the Tory party Lee Anderson said on Twitter/X: “Well I never! Just imagine if a Tory MP suggested sending illegal migrants to a remote Scottish island.

“I was hounded by the left when I suggested the Orkneys but it turns out New Labour were on to this idea 20 years ago.

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“In a letter, his chief of staff Jonathan Powell told him that the attorney-general’s office ‘suggested we set up a camp in the Isle of Mull and detain people there’.”

Meanwhile, Tory MP for Lichfield Michael Fabricant said: “Tony Blair planned to put asylum seekers on a camp in the Isle of Mull. Imagine if #Boris had even thought that!”

Although the plan was not taken up, it echoes the ongoing debate still taking place today around Rishi Sunak’s plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The National:

Elsewhere, the Twitter/X account Bella Caledonia said: “Looking forward to Scottish Labour defending this.”

Starmer has previously dismissed the Government’s Rwanda plan as a “gimmick”.

Prior to a crucial vote on the scheme, he said: “We will oppose the scheme for a number of reasons. It won’t work, it’ll cost a fortune - £290 million already without a single person having gone – and it’s against our values.”