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UK ministers warned against leaked plans to put refugees on ‘prison ships’

Former top civil servant says government must not repeat past mistakes, amid controversial ideas to discourage migrants

A plan to process refugees on decommissioned ferries risks being expensive, inadequate for its inhabitants, and likely to repeat the policy mistakes of the past, ministers are being warned.

A similar attempt to house prisoners in an offshore floating jail lasted less than a decade after conditions at the facility were criticised, Whitehall veterans said. They warned it proved difficult to keep supplied and too expensive to maintain in a suitable condition.

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