NICOLA Sturgeon has accused Priti Patel of treating people like “cattle in a holding pen” after it emerged oil rigs and retired ferries were being considered for asylum processing centres.

The First Minister hit out at the plans on social media, saying that the Home Office could “rest assured that any proposal to treat human beings like cattle in a holding pen will be met with the strongest possible opposition from me.”

It comes after details emerged yesterday of plans to build remote asylum processing centres off the UK mainland, with areas including Ascension island, Morocco and Papua New Guinea forming part of considerations.

Read more: Oil rigs, ferries and waves to push asylum boats away among bizarre ideas considered by Home Office 

Today more revelations emerged about the Home Office’s brain storming session on how to handle asylum seekers. One idea suggested was to use boats with pumps to generate waves, which would force the small vessels overloaded with vulnerable asylum seekers back into French waters if they were crossing the Channel.

Disused North Sea oil rigs were also suggested and discounted after experts warned of the logistical and safety problems associated with them.

Retired ferries have also been suggested for use as asylum processing centres and are understood still to be under consideration.

The moves have been condemned by campaigners and politicians, who describe the plans as “inhumane” “hare-brained” and “disgusting”.

Read more: MPs demand clarity over Priti Patel's "hare-brained" asylum plan

The SNP has issued a statement saying it wants “no part” in the plans.

Joanna Cherry MP, the SNP Shadow Home Affairs and Justice spokeswoman, said: “The latest leaked asylum policies to process claims on disused ferries offshore, on remote islands 4,000 miles away, and even on Scottish islands, confirm the callousness at the core of Boris Johnson’s government.

“This is a Tory government driven by a hostile and toxic agenda and its plans to treat vulnerable asylum seekers as cattle rather than human beings marks yet another stain on its record.

“Breaking international law and abandoning its moral obligations have become the norm for this Tory government.

“Boris Johnson and Priti Patel must now come out and clarify whether there is any truth to these extremely worrying reports, and if there is, then they must abandon them without delay or debate.

“The people of Scotland want nothing to do with the nasty policies peddled by Boris Johnson’s government – with a new YouGov poll showing a strong majority of people in Scotland opposed to the Tories’ asylum plans.

“It’s clearer than ever that Westminster is broken beyond repair and is acting against Scotland’s interests. Only through independence will we be able to build a fairer system that puts respect and dignity at its very core.”

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said: "We all want to prevent people from making dangerous attempts to cross the Channel, but these absurd Home Office proposals are not the answer.

"Tory Ministers are showing no regard either for the wellbeing of asylum seekers or the island communities they want to turn into detention camps.

"Instead of coming up with ever more impractical, ever nastier ways of treating asylum seekers, the Government must restore safe and legal routes to sanctuary for refugees – especially unaccompanied children.

"The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need, and Liberal Democrats will not let the Government turn its back on them now."