Humza Yousaf has reached out to Labour MSPs in a bid to create an alliance with the SNP and Greens against the UK Government's "draconian" immigration policies.

The Scottish Justice Secretary urged his parliamentary collegues to put aside their differences on the constitution to demand that powers over asylum are devolved so they create a system based on compassion.

The plea comes after a mass protest was seen in Glasgow against immigration detentions. 

Police Scotland released two men detained by Border Force officials in Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, after people surrounded the van they were being held in and prevented it from leaving on Thursday.

Demonstrators blocked the immigration enforcement van for several hours, with one even lying underneath the vehicle, before a senior Police Scotland officer decided to release the detained men on public safety grounds.

In the letter, Mr Yousaf expressed how the actions of the Home Office were a "disgrace" and their attempt to force eviction demonstrated their "utter incompetence" or "deliberate attempt to provoke" in the heart of a Muslim on Eid. 


He wrote: "While I am supportive of the action taken by Police Scotland during yesterday's incident, there clearly needs to be a long-term solution that deals with the root cause not merely the symptoms. 

"The underlying cause is successive UK Government's draconian immigration and asylum laws. The hostile environment created by the Conservatives doesn not just turn its back on the most vulnerable, often feeling war and persecution, but proactively seeks to make life miserable for each and every one of them. 

"I know that we differ on the Constitutional question, however, I hope we can put our differences aside to come together and create a progressive alliance to resist the Tory UK Government's hostile environment and oppressive immigration and asylum laws."

Furthermore, during an urgent questions session in the Scottish Parliament on Friday, Mr Yousaf was asked about the Scottish Government’s response and its engagement with the Home Office.

Mr Yousaf said he and the First Minister had spent a significant amount of time on Thursday speaking to the Home Office and Police Scotland to find a safe solution.

He said Police Scotland had been placed in an “invidious” position, and he had urged the Home Office to abandon the forced removal.

READ MORE: Protester warns Home Office ‘shouldn’t act like mafia’

The Justice Secretary said it had been reckless to take the action during an upsurge of Covid cases in Glasgow, as well as during the festival of Eid.

MSPs also quizzed the Justice Secretary on the role of Police Scotland in the demonstration.

Mr Yousaf said police did not routinely accompany Border Force agents to forced removals, but would attend when called out.

He added: “The blame for yesterday’s actions lies squarely on the shoulders of the Home Office and the reckless action they took in the heart of Scotland’s Muslim community.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said on Thursday: “The UK Government is tackling illegal immigration and the harm it causes, often to the most vulnerable people, by removing those with no right to be in the UK.

“The operation in Glasgow was conducted in relation to suspected immigration offences and the two Indian nationals complied with officers at all times.

“The UK Government continues to tackle illegal migration in all its forms and our New Plan for Immigration will speed up the removal of those who have entered the UK illegally.”