Operation “Red Meat”

Last night the Home Office was not denying suggestions, first reported by ITV’s Anushka Asthana, that a ministerial direction has been put in place over the policy [migrant processing]. If true, this would mean that Patel has given the Home Office a formal instruction to proceed despite an objection raised by its permanent secretary. Senior civil servants seek ministerial directions in cases where they have concerns about the legality, propriety, feasibility or cost of a proposal. This is quite rare — the IfG counts 46 ministerial directions in the last decade — and would add more fuel to the fire. David Normington, a former Home Office perm sec, told Newsnight that the policy “is inhumane, it’s morally reprehensible, it’s probably unlawful and it may well be unworkable.”

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