Rishi Shankar’s policy of keeping Channel migrants on cruise ships ‘laughed off the table by cabinet ministers’
- Whitehall officials roundly scoff at Rishi Singh’s cruise ship channel migrant plan.
- One said: ‘It was a rabbit idea that went round and was turned down by the Cabinet.’
- Sink vows to tackle £5m ‘hotel farce’ by detaining unprocessed arrivals at sea
- But the Truss campaign claimed the proposal would breach international law.
Rishi Shank is pictured at tonight’s Tory leadership debate in Stoke-on-Trent.
According to reports, Rishi Singh’s plan to detain Channel migrants on cruise ships was dubbed the ‘rabbit’ as Whitehall officials, including the Treasury, scoffed at the idea.
The former chancellor and No 10 candidate announced the hard-line proposal in the Sunday Telegraph as a possible alternative to the £5 million a day spending on hotels.
Mr Sink said the government could tackle the ‘hotel furs’ with ‘existing and new solutions, including the use of cruise ships’.
The Truss campaign claimed the proposal would breach international law and human rights legislation, which has also blocked the government’s plans for Rwanda.
Whitehall officials said putting undocumented migrants on cruise ships would breach the 1951 Refugee Convention, which would prevent ‘arbitrary detention’.
“Security will be a nightmare and very expensive,” said a senior Whitehall source. Times.
Mr Sink first proposed the idea in 2020 but was soon shot down by colleagues.
Another official added: ‘It was rejected by the Treasury on cost grounds.’
Home Secretary Priti Patel’s Rwanda plan has failed to send a single unprocessed migrant to sea.
Home Secretary Priti Patel finally launched the government’s Rwanda plan in April, but it has so far failed to get a single migrant across the sea for processing.
A third official said of the cruise ship idea: ‘It was a rabbit idea that went round and was rejected by the Cabinet because the costs would have been astronomical.
‘It was very early days and it was derided across government at civil service and cabinet level. It was quickly lost in favor of using other countries because you have the space, but on cruise ships, how do you manage that?’
Truss has proposed bolstering the burst initiative with more ‘third country processing partnerships’ and the appointment of a border force minister.
An Estonian ferry carrying Ukrainian refugees to Scotland is pictured docking in Leith.
Turkey was considered as a potential host country, although Ankara has repeatedly claimed that it does not have the capacity to handle more refugees.
Criticism from officials tonight of Mr Sink’s proposal has sparked another briefing war between the two Downing Street candidates, with the former chancellor’s spokesman pointing to Truss’ Foreign Office figures on the crossing. .
But government sources said Mr Sink blocked plans by the Home Office and Cabinet Office for new accommodation for 8,000 migrants.
It came within hours of a fiery televised debate between Ms Truss and Mr Sink.
Sink claimed Truss’ tax plans would ‘push millions into misery’, while the foreign secretary accused the former chancellor of ‘scaremongering’ and trading ‘project fare’.