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Send asylum seekers to remote Scottish islands if Rwanda deal fails, says Tory deputy chair Lee Anderson

Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson has called for asylum seekers to be sent to remote Scottish islands if the government’s Rwanda deportation plan fails.

The controversial MP called for those arriving in the UK via small boats to be housed on the Orkney Islands, which he said would be “perfect” for people fleeing persecution.

Asked about reports the Home Office had considered sending migrants to the Falkland Islands as a backup to the Rwanda scheme, Mr Anderson said it was “a bit far to go” and “not fair on the islanders”.

And he added that despite the cold, “if people are genuinely escaping war or persecution then a nice Scottish island with a few outbuildings would be suitable”.

It comes after the Supreme Court ruled that Rishi Sunak’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful because of deficiencies in the country’s asylum system.

Judges found that sending anyone to the African country would be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as there was a “real risk” they could be returned to their home countries to face “persecution or other inhumane treatment”.

Mr Sunak said “this was not the outcome we wanted” and has vowed to change UK law to declare Rwanda a safe country and get flights started.

A report in The Times said Mr Sunak had rejected Home Office proposals to send migrants to the Falkland Islands as a back-up, after it conducted “extensive work” on the idea.

Lee Anderson last week called on the government to ignore the Rwanda court ruling and ‘get planes in the air’ (CHP)
Lee Anderson last week called on the government to ignore the Rwanda court ruling and ‘get planes in the air’ (CHP)

Asked about the Falklands Islands idea, he told GB News: “There’s a better option: We can keep them on British soil if you like. We’ve got the Orkneys or some remote Scottish island. I know it’s a bit parky up there this time of year.

“But if people are genuinely escaping war or persecution then a nice Scottish island with a few outbuildings would be suitable.”

Mr Anderson said Britain is “beautiful” and stressed the “go-to” nature of some parts of Scotland. “I’d like to be able to afford a place up there,” he added.

The outspoken Tory said that after building safe accommodation on the islands it would be “job done”.

Mr Anderson said: “The Falkland Islands, I think it’s a little bit far to go and it’s not fair on the Falkland Islanders who have got their own problems at the moment with their sovereignty, with Argentina.

“But if people are genuinely escaping violence or persecution then a nice little island in the north of Scotland is perfect.”

Last week, Mr Anderson said the Rwanda ruling was a “dark day for the British people” and said ministers should “just put the planes in the air now and send them to Rwanda”.

“My take is we should just put the planes in the air now and send them to Rwanda and show strength,” he said.

“I think we should ignore the law and send them straight back the same day,” he added.

Downing Street refused to condemn the Tory deputy chairman for suggesting ministers ignore the judgment.