Tory MPs last week urged ministers to send migrants illegally entering the UK by small boats to offshore centres at the Falkland Islands – a British overseas territory in the southwest Atlantic Ocean that has been the subject of conflict between Britain and Argentina since 1982.
Lee Anderson, the MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, told The Guardian: “The only way we will put these people off is by giving them the message that if you come here you are going to be sent 8,000 miles away.
“I would be in favour of [using] the Falkland Islands.”
His comments came amid increasing alarm in the Government over the rising numbers of people risking their lives by making the journey through the Channel in winter.
Argentine politician Gustavo Melella, the current Governor of Tierra del Fuego, condemned the UK’s proposal, saying: “These statements demonstrate the contempt for human rights on the part of the most reactionary British political arc when their interests are at stake.”
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Drawing on history, Mr Melella wrote: “We have already seen how British colonial action and its archaic imperial pretensions use populations as a bargaining chip.
“The expulsion of Mauritians of Chagossian origin from their homes to rent a military base to the US is a clear example.”
Britain bought the Chagos islands for 3 million pounds from Mauritius to form the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) in 1965.
This led to the displacement of about 2,000 Indigenous Chagossians between 1967 and 1973 from their tropical homes to Mauritius and Seychelles to make way for a US military base on one of the 65 Chagos islands.
He concluded: “This is a rare example of Britain’s anachronistic actions, in violation of international law, throughout the world.”
Hundreds of people, including young children, have made the dangerous Channel crossing to the UK over the weekend.
According to the latest Government figures, the number of migrants reaching the UK by boat across the perilous English Channel this year — over 24,700 — is now more than triple the total for last year.
MPs also said Home Secretary Priti Patel should be willing to automatically return migrants to France if Tories are to meet the Brexit pledge of taking control of the UK’s borders.
Ms Patel told the House of Commons on Tuesday: “This is an ongoing conversation, discussion that we are having with them [France] and I am actively pursuing this.
“But I want to be very, very clear and realising about this, this is only one aspect to a wider situation dealing with illegal migration.”
She said she was also in talks with Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Italy and Greece, and Poland about potential returns agreements.
Stressing there was no “silver bullet” to resolve the migrant crisis, the home secretary said the “only solution is wholescale reform of our asylum system”.