COMMONS

Damian Green and Dame Helen Ghosh DCB give evidence to Home Affairs Committee

22 November 2011

Following the evidence session with Brodie Clark CBE, former Head of UK Border Force, and Rob Whiteman, Chief Executive of the UK Border Agency, the Commons Home Affairs Committee has invited the Minister for Immigration, Damian Green MP, and the Permanent Secretary, Dame Helen Ghosh DCB, to give oral evidence on Tuesday 22 November

The committee has also written to the Home Secretary asking for copies of six documents which are relevant to the case.

Committee Chair, Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP said:

"The committee remains concerned by the contradictory information that it has received so far. The integrity of our borders is of the upmost importance. We are determined to find out the facts surrounding the events at the UK Border Agency this summer and have written to the Home Secretary with further questions. We look forward to seeing the Immigration Minister and the Permanent Secretary on Tuesday."

Witnesses

 12.15 pm

  • Dame Helen Ghosh DCB, Permanent Secretary, Home Office

12.45 pm

  • Damian Green MP, Minister for Immigration

Letter from Chair to Rt. Hon Theresa May MP, the Home Secretary

UK Border Agency

I am writing to you following the Committee’s formal evidence session yesterday with Brodie Clark, the former Head of the UK Border Force and Rob Whiteman, the Chief Executive of the UKBA. The Committee would be grateful if you would provide it with the following papers which are relevant to our inquiry:

  1. Any paper or papers which contain your explicit instruction to UKBA officials not to go beyond the agreed terms of the trial of risk-based processes at the border, as set out in the Interim Operational Instruction of 28 July, or otherwise set out the terms of your agreement to that trial;
  2. The Operational Instruction or similar document issued in 2007, which describes the temporary changes to border arrangements which the UKBA may take in order to mitigate serious health and safety risks at a port or airport;
  3. The e-mail sent by Brody Clark to Rob Whiteman at about 7 am on 3 November 2011 (which we have been told draws a distinction between the two policies described in the documents requested above);
  4. Copies of the periodic updates (which we understand were weekly, in the first instance) which were sent to you on the operation of the trial between July and November;
  5. A copy of the UK Border Force Operations Manual (if it is currently being updated, we would be happy to receive a copy of the last edition that was issued), or the complete URL where it can currently be found on-line; and
  6. A copy of the webpages which appeared on the UKBA website before the 2010 election under the heading “Managing our border”, or the complete URL where they can currently be found on-line.

The Committee would be happy to respect any protective marking which appeared on any of the documents requested.

I understand that some of the papers requested have been or will be supplied to one or more of the three inquiries you have established to consider these events. We nonetheless believe that it is necessary for the Committee to receive copies in order for us to pursue our own inquiries.

Whilst writing, I have noted that David Wood’s interim report has in the words of the Daily Mail (16 November, page 8) "been leaked to the newspaper". As it appears the report is ready, it would greatly assist us with our inquiry if you could provide the Committee with a copy.

Could I also remind you that the Committee is awaiting two further pieces of correspondence from you:

  1. On 7 November, you told the House following a question from Douglas Carswell MP that you would "be making information available on the issue involving Raed Salah to the Home Affairs Committee" (Official Report, col. 57). We have been waiting some time for this information and I would be grateful if you could now provide it.
  2. When you gave evidence to the Committee on 8 November, Mark Reckless MP raised a question about whether police and crime panels would have to power to trigger referendums on police precepts (QQ 62–66). You undertook to write to the Committee with fuller details of the reasons why the policy in the Act does not reflect the policy in the Coalition Agreement and the White Paper.

I would be grateful for a response by noon on Monday 21 November 2011 so that it can be circulated before the Committee’s next meeting on Tuesday 22 November 2011.

I remain most grateful to you for your assistance and continued cooperation on this matter.

Further Information

Image: PA

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