The home secretary has promised to create a new firm and fair uk asylum system, following controversy surrounding leaked home office proposals to reduce illegal immigration.

Speaking at the conservative party virtual conference, priti patel promised to overhaul the uks asylum system, which she described as fundamentally broken.

After decades of inaction by successive governments we will address the moral, legal and practical problems with the asylum system, she said.

Because what exists now is neither firm nor fair. and i will bring forward legislation to deliver on that commitment next year. i will take every necessary step to fix this broken system.

Without giving details, ms patel said she would accelerate the governments operational response and would continue to examine all practical measures to deter illegal immigration.

However, she also admitted illegal immigration was an issue that had plagued successive governments and warned overhauling the system would take time.

Her comments follow stark criticism of the home office, after the financial times revealed last week that the home secretary had asked officials to explore the possibility of building an asylum processing centre on ascension island in the south atlantic.

Leaked documents also indicated a range of other controversial options were explored including the construction of floating walls in the english channel.

Downing street then confirmed the government was exploring plans to create an offshore immigration processing centre.

The government has come under growing pressure to reduce the number of crossings across the english channel, with the latest estimates suggesting the number of migrants using small boats to travel to the uk has risen almostfivefoldcompared to last year.

In an interview with the sunday times ahead of her speech, ms patel said she remained motivated to carry out her reforms, despite the leaks.

Its disappointing to see sniping from the sidelines. my only motivation in life is to get stuck in, which i do every single day. i am an activist in government.

Ms patel maintained her defiant tone within her speech, arguing that the conservative government would continue to stand up for the hardworking, law-abiding majority and would not be complacent in what she described as, the international criminal trade in asylum seekers.

She added: as for those defending the broken system the traffickers, the do-gooders, the leftie lawyers, the labour party they are defending the indefensible. and that is something i will never do.

If at times it means being unpopular on twitter. i will bear it...and if at times it means labour members of parliament attempting to silence me because i do not conform to their idea of what an ethnic minority woman should stand for. i will stomach it.

However, shadow home secretary nick thomas-symonds accused the tories of breaking the immigration system because they had been in power for the past decade.

Recent experience suggests they have not learned any lessons at all, with unconscionable, absurd proposals about floating walls and creating waves in the english channel to push back boats and sending people thousands of miles away to process claims.

The truth is the tories are devoid of compassion and competence.