Adjounment debate – the UK Border Agency

Posted on June 14th, 2011 in Parliamentary News

Keith Vaz (Leicester, East) (Lab): I apologise for missing the start of the debate, which started a bit sooner than I expected. Has the hon. Gentleman seen the letter that Lynne Homer sent to me yesterday in which she said that the UK Border Agency has now discovered 40,000 files it did not think it had seen before? That is 40,000 people whom the agency does not know are still in the country or not. Is that not indicative of the shambles that currently grips the UK Border Agency at Lunar house?

Mr. Hands: I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that intervention. I am not surprised, having been to the UKBA offices, which I described about five minutes ago, and having seen for myself the chaos, despite the dedication and rather good quality of some of the staff involved.

I did not mean to speak for long and I just wanted to back up what my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone and The Weald said. The other thing I learned at UKBA is that it is under instructions to resolve the cases that are easiest to resolve first. This is where my right hon. Friend’s point about resolving the cases of the weakest in society kicks in: these are the cases that are easy to get out of the way quickly in a furious effort to try to reduce the backlog, presumably to meet some central Government-imposed target.