A councillor has voiced her anger at reported Government plans to force boats carrying migrants to the UK to turn back across the Channel.

Reports have emerged that Home Secretary Priti Patel had sanctioned tactics to turn back migrant boats towards the continent to stop them from making the journey to the UK.

And Councillor Louise Atkinson, who represents the Cathedral and Castle ward in Carlisle, is one of numerous figures to have voiced their disapproval on the decision.

Mrs Atkinson said: “I am absolutely disgusted and appalled to hear the news that our Border Force officials will be instructed to send boats back to France across one of the busiest and most dangerous shipping channels in the world.

"However, I am not shocked that this suggestion has come from the current Tory government who have proven themselves time and again to lack any element of regard for basic human rights.

"This policy will lead to more deaths.

"As one of the richest nations in the world, we should be ready and happy to help people who find themselves in such desperate situations that they take such risks to cross the channel; not send them back on such a dangerous journey.”

Carlisle has helped welcome asylum seekers from war-torn Syria through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme and is expected to assist in the rehousing of Afghan immigrants who have been forced out of their country by the Taliban.

The scheme helped 0.4 per cent of all those who have been nationally rehomed.

According to estimates, that means Syrian refugees make up just nine in every 10,000 Carlisle residents.

Turning back migrant boats heading across the Channel to the UK would be a 'highly dangerous' tactic if adopted, an ex-Border Force chief has warned.

Tony Smith, former Border Force director general, said the UK's top priority should be 'the preservation of life above all else' and called for a diplomatic solution to its war of words with France over efforts to tackle migrants crossing the Channel by boat.

Mr Smith, who retired in 2013 and is now a global border security consultant, said that in Australia, human smugglers were known to 'drill holes' in boats when its border force was spotted so they had 'no choice but to pick up the people'.

He said that during his time at Border Force it was deemed 'very unlikely' that the UK would see 'large-scale migration by maritime methods'.