“It’s a step forward for Italy’s security,” Matteo Salvini, leader of the League party and Deputy Prime Minister said.

At a press conference yesterday at Palazzo Chigi in Rome, Salvini highlighted the 18 articles of the decree which he says have been “discussed and planned for a long time”.

“There are three main goals,” Salvini stated.

“Firstly, fighting illegal immigration, then there is the chapter which I hold particularly dear which tightens penalties for those who act with helmets, sticks or clubs against the police, and there is the recruitment of 800 administrative personnel in our judicial offices, to carry out the sentencing of those 12,000 people in Naples alone who have been convicted of crimes but remain unpunished.”

The security decree bans entry into Italy via ship for immigrants who have repeatedly failed to comply with entry bans in territorial waters.

Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Five Star Movement (M5S) Luigi Di Maio said that over 500,000 “clandestine” immigrants exist in Italy and that there is the need to work on the problem “as a team”.

The new law will allow for seizure and expulsion of many of these migrants.

The decree tightens regulations on political dissent all over the country, with the possibility of four years in prison expected for those who use smoke-bombs during public demonstrations.

The security decree has been labelled by some Italian media outlets as a repressive step against social dissent and foreigners in Italy.

But Salvini responded by saying that no infringement has been made on the freedom of thought of Italians and that “episodes of violence” need to be contained.