FIRST Minister Humza Yousaf has condemned plans considered by Tony Blair’s former Labour government to hold refugees on a Scottish island, and warned that a government under Keir Starmer may look to "tweak" them.

The SNP leader reacted to the proposals, released in files by the National Archives in London, first mooted by the former prime minister’s aides more than two decades ago.

The plans were drawn up in 2002 and could have seen asylum seekers placed in Mull, in the Inner Hebrides.

It never came to fruition but the plans are topical more than 20 years later.

READ MORE: Keir Starmer told to 'disown' Blair government's asylum plans for Scottish island

The current Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, is pushing on with plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda in an effort to crack down on small boats crossing the English channel.

After the Supreme Court ruled the Rwanda policy unlawful, Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson also suggested sending asylum seekers to "the Orkneys or some remote Scottish island".

Yousaf said the plans showed both Labour and the Conservatives were using immigration as a “really dirty word”.

He told journalists in Glasgow on Friday: “It is disappointing that both Labour and the Conservatives, as these files have shown, have engaged in a race to the bottom when it comes to the issue of immigration.

“We should have a humane asylum system, a migration system that helps us to fill the vacancies that we have in this country because they [migrants] contribute more than they give.”

Yousaf (below) also claimed the comments about the Isle of Mull could be “disparaging” to islanders, with the proposals treating rural Scotland as a dumping ground.

The National: First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf said he would work with Labour now (Pete Summers/PA)

He said: “It’s also very disparaging to Scotland – and to those on the Isle of Mull or elsewhere – to suggest that, ‘well, let’s just fling people in the far reaches of the country and forget about them, and leave them there’.”

And he raised concerns that a potential incoming Labour government would look to “tweak” the plans.

Yousaf said Keir Starmer had failed to deliver a “wholesale rejection” of the Prime Minister’s Rwanda plans amid suggestions Labour’s alternative plans include small changes such as processing asylum applications overseas.

Yousaf added: “People on the ground, the public, take their lead from political leadership and if the political leadership is talking about migration as a dirty word, fanning the flames of that tension around migration, then it’s hardly surprising it becomes a divisive issue as opposed to actually looking at the issue from a common sense perspective.”