The Government should set up overseas centres to process asylum applications, says the Sunday Mirror’s political editor, Nigel Nelson. He suggests that the UN High Commission for Refugees could administer these schemes, and that the US, Sweden and Canada already use such systems.

Such a solution “would enable us to control our borders and also hold our heads high on the international stage as the just, fair and compassionate nation we are at heart,” insists Nelson, who is Fleet Street’s longest serving political editor.

He condemns the Government’s current punitive policies, including “the unnecessarily hostile language being used. Refugees are not illegal migrants…every refugee starts out as an asylum seeker…The only illegal bit is arriving in Britain without travel documents, but under international law that is trumped by being an asylum seeker. Afghan interpreters are hardly going to pop home for paperwork with the Taliban hot on their tails.”

Nelson points out that the Illegal Migration Bill may itself be illegal.

“”The 1951 UN Refugee Convention, to which the UK is a signatory, does not distinguish the means by which refugees get here to apply for asylum.”
Since Brexit, the Uk has also lost the right to return asylum seekers who had previously registered in one of 27 EU states.
The Government has “tied itself in knots” with its Rwanda policy. “Suella Braverman says asylum accommodation is so wonderful there she is minded to incorporate the decor in her own home. In which case why is Rwanda a deterrent to Channel crossings?”

There is a huge question mark over Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s president, Nelson believes.”His support for machete-wielding M23 rebels currently raping and murdering their way through neighbouring Congo is a cause for concern, one raised by the EU and France while Britain’s response remains disturbingly muted.”

Because of war and famine, migration is a global issue which needs a long -term solution, unaddressed by our two main political parties, according to Nelson.

“Refugees looking to Britain for a new home do so because either they have friends and family here or speak English. And they come to Calais in search of dinghies because they can only claim asylum once they are physically in Britain.”

The only safe routes are provided by specific resettlement schemes, Nelson explains, “which is how 144,600 Ukrainians, 144,000 Hong Kongers and 23,000 Afghans made it here last year. We have also welcomed 20,000 Syrians successfully. But if you originate from anywhere else you are stuffed.”