Border checks were relaxed at 28 ports and airports

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New details have emerged in the row about the relaxation of security checks at ports and airports.

Home Secretary Theresa May has revealed her pilot scheme to reduce passport checks on some citizens of EU countries was used at 28 ports and airports.

The details emerged in response to written questions from the chairman of the Home Affairs Committee Keith Vaz.

Mrs May also disclosed that more than 10m people entered the UK in August when the pilot scheme was operating.

The 28 ports and airports at which the authorised pilot was used included Heathrow, Gatwick, Calais, Coquelles, Glasgow, Harwich, Manchester Airport, Aberdeen and Cardiff.

The Home Secretary also said she met Brodie Clark, the former head of the UK border force Brodie Clark, once during July and November when the more relaxed border checks were in place. She said the meeting was not to discuss the pilot.

She said she had met him 10 times in the past year, in total, while the Home Office Permanent Secretary Dame Helen Ghosh had met Mr Clark six times since July 2011, and 15 times in total. These did not include ‘routine’ meetings.

According to the responses to the Home Affairs Committee, Immigration Minister Damian Green received “weekly reports” from the UK Border Agency chief executive on the Agency’s performance and operational issues. He also had weekly meetings with the chief executive.

Dame Helen said she was currently unable to confirm that no minister or official at the Home Office knew that border checks had been relaxed beyond those authorised.

She said: “This is one of the matters being covered by John Vine’s investigation”.

Mr Clark was suspended by Theresa May after being accused of relaxing immigration controls beyond certain limits that she had authorised.

He later resigned, saying his position had been made “untenable”.

from BBC © 2011

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