The Interior Ministry accused of “condescending” voters with “useless” asylum policy

The Home Office has been accused of “underestimating voter intelligence” with “useless” policies that it claims will reduce the number of migrants entering the UK by crossing the Channel.

Two former prime ministers are among those who have criticized the ministry for pushing “macho-sounding” plans out to curb sea arrivals to Britain, while Home Secretary Priti Patel is accused of “inventing it while she goes along”.

The proposed plans include the treatment of asylum seekers offshore, despite allegations that the policy would not work in practice.

The government’s proposal leaked to the media on Thursday indicated that ministers were in talks with Albania to form an agreement under which asylum seekers who had crossed the canal would be flown to the Eastern European country, 1,500 miles away, to be processed.

Justice Minister Dominic Raab declined to deny that ministers were hoping to reach such an agreement, confirming that talks were underway to remove migrants within seven days of their arrival in the UK.

But within hours of the leak being announced, Albanian Ambassador to the United Kingdom Qirjako Qirko said: The independent that the reports were “totally false” and that such a scheme “would never happen” because it would be “contrary to international law”.

It marks the latest in a series of proposals made by the British government aimed at reducing the number of people entering the UK by crossing the canal in small boats, which have later proved to be useless.

In March, it was reported that ministers were planning to treat asylum seekers in Gibraltar and on islands off the coast of Scotland – which both governments quickly declared untrue. In June, it was reported that Rwanda would be used as an offshore processing hub – but it quickly emerged that the country had not accepted such a policy.

David Davis, who served as shadow immigration minister for the Conservatives from 2003 to 2008, told The independent he believed that his party “underestimated the intelligence of the electorate” by floating “useless” policies – and described it as “patronizing”.

“My feeling is that it comes from young political advisers in No. 10, who have taken a focus group or vote and tried to translate it into a very macho-sounding policy. My experience with macho-sounding policies is [that] more often than not they go wrong, ”he said.

“I think they make the assumption that voters are tougher, in the sense that they are less aware of the problems. “Never underestimate your voters” is a very good maxim in this area. “

The politician, who has tabled an amendment to the bill on nationality and borders that would remove a clause allowing British asylum seekers to be treated abroad, added that the government’s “very firm and strong language” around canal crossings had “increased the size of political questions”.

“It comes from a belief that it is politically beneficial, but it starts in a populist policy rather than thinking it through thoroughly. In reality, this policy would be costly and ineffective, ”he said.

Lord David Blunkett, who served as Home Secretary between 2001 and 2004 under Tony Blair, said Home Secretary Priti Patel “invents while she goes together” when it comes to asylum policies.

“In one breath, she smears Albanian society here as organized criminals who should be sent home, and in the next breath, she expects the Albanian government to act as a transit camp to remove asylum seekers,” he said.

“All of these ideas were explored 20 years ago, and none of them became either practical or coherent. no accession to international conventions. “

A former senior immigration official in the Interior Ministry, who did not want to be named, described the recent proposal from Albania as “completely impractical and ridiculous”.

“It’s headline-grabbing. I can ‘t help feeling that either people in the Home Office are all either completely stupid, or they just know it’s not going to work. In the end, it just makes them to look stupid, ”he said.

“It comes up with crazy proposals that try to move the story forward in their favor for a week or so, only to give them more problems in the long run. It’s completely and utterly insane. It’s impractical, and I can not believe it. that people do not know it would not work.

“It goes beyond some of their backers, but they’s definitely ready enough to realize it’s useless.”

Speaking to journalists on Thursday, Mrs Patel claimed that France was “overwhelmed” by a “mass migration crisis”, which she blamed for “Schengen open borders” across Europe.

“Let us not forget that the real problem with illegal migration flows is that the EU has no border protection at all – Schengen open borders,” she said.

“I think it’s fair to say that they [France] is overwhelmed. That’s a fact.

“When you think about the currents, what do they do then? They absolutely patrol the beaches [but] I want to maintain that the numbers are so significant that they have enough resources? We are constantly pressuring France on this. ”

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said it was right that all options should be kept on the table for future consideration, adding: “Migrants making these dangerous crossings are putting their lives on the line and it is vital that we do everything, what we can do to prevent them, and break the business model of the criminal gangs that exploit people.

“People should seek asylum in the first safe country they arrive in, and as part of our response, it is important that we have a maritime deterrent in the Channel and work with international partners to put an end to these dangerous journeys.”

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