PRITI Patel has announced a ban on EU citizens entering the UK if they have committed crimes.

The Home Secretary said the measures, which will come into force on January 1 next year will stop "dangerous foreign criminals" accessing the country.

She said it was part of the "firm but fair" reform of the UK's immigration policy, which Ms Patel described as "fundamentally broken" last month.

The Home Office said current EU laws mean some foreign criminals can enter the UK but changes to legislation – due to be laid in Parliament on Thursday – mean those sentenced to more than a year in jail will not be allowed into the country.

Those who have never served jail time, or have a

Ms Patel said: "For too long, EU rules have forced us to allow dangerous foreign criminals, who abuse our values and threaten our way of life, onto our streets.

"The UK will be safer thanks to firmer and fairer border controls where foreign criminals regardless of nationality will be subject to the same criminality rules."

The current rules mean officials have to show that EU criminals coming to the country are a “genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat” to society, if they want to block them from entering.

According to the Home Office, the decision to ban them cannot be based only on criminal convictions even if they had committed rape or murder.

The department's new plans will mean EU citizens will be subject to the same rules on entering the country as those already applied to non-EU citizens.

Those who have been sentenced to less than a year in jail could still be banned as officials review their criminal history and consider whether they have any ties to the UK,, for example if they have family here.

Even offenders who have not gone to jail could also be barred if there is evidence they are “persistent” criminals, their crimes cause “serious harm” or if it is decided their “presence in UK is not conducive to the public good”.

Equally, anyone with a criminal conviction of any kind in the past 12 months who is looking to come to the UK for the first time could be denied entry.

There will be exceptions to the rule, including if banning someone from the UK would breach the European Convention on Human Rights or if their crimes are not recognised in the UK.

The changes will not apply to EU citizens who have been granted immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or any others protected by the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Their right to be in the UK could be revoked if they commit crimes after January 1, the Home Office warned.

The new plans come after a series of controversial leaks emerged earlier this month about suggestions for accommodating asylum seekers.

It is understood the Home office scoped out plans to house asylum seekers on an island in the Atlantic while their claims were being processed.

It was also suggested that Scottish islands could be used as a detention facility for those seeking refuge in the country.

The Home Office said at the time it would not comment on leaks, but added that it was considering all possible options to prevent asylum seekers from making dangerous crossings across the Channel.

Following the reports Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservatives leader and MP for Moray, said he would "never" support such developments in Scotland.

He said: " I would never support an asylum processing centre on a Scottish island or in the North Sea.

“While I understand and share the need to take strong action to stop illegal migration and deter asylum seekers from making a dangerous journey, this is not a practical, considered or reasonable approach."