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Immigration Minister had 'no choice' but to resign

Immigration Minister Mark Harper had "no choice" but to resign, Ukip leader Nigel Farage said, after discovering that Mr Harper's cleaner was in the UK illegally.

UK Independence leader Nigel Farage Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Mr Farage said: "After all he was the guy behind what I thought were those rather unpleasant vans driving around London saying 'if you're an illegal the time has come to go home', so he had no choice,"

"It rather sums up the very bad few weeks the Government has had with the question of immigration and what a mess the whole thing is."

Tory MP praises Immigration Minister's move to resign

Immigration Minister Mark Harper's resignation over his employment of a cleaner in UK illegally is refreshing, a Tory MP has said.

John Penrose, MP for Weston-super-Mare told Murnaghan on Sky News that Mr Harper had stood down on a point of principle. He added:

We're going to have to make sure it is practical and easy enough for people who take sensible precautions to be OK.

We can't be asking people to do impossible things but if it's sensible precautions that's what we've got to get to, that's what we've got to check.

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Eric Pickles 'very sorry' to hear about Mark Harper exit

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said he was "very sorry" to hear about the resignation of Immigration Minister Mark Harper.

Mr Harper resigned after discovering the cleaner he employed was in the UK illegally.

Eric Pickles said he was 'very sorry' to hear about the resignation of Immigration Minister Mark Harper. Credit: ITV News

"I'm very sorry to hear about Mark Harper. He was a very good administer. I've known him a long time but I recognise the Prime Minister has accepted the resignation," Mr Pickles told ITV News.

"My best wishes go to him and his family."

Harper resignation 'shows immigration law complexity'

The Labour party has said that the resignation of Immigration Minister Mark Harper demonstrates the complexity of immigration checks for landlords and employers.

Shadow Immigration Minister David Hanson said Mr Harper's resignation showed the complexity of immigration law Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Mr Harper resigned after discovering that his cleaner was in Britain illegally, although Downing Street said there was nothing to suggest that he knowingly employed an illegal immigrant.

"This information about Mark Harper’s employee does put him in a difficult position," Mr Hanson said.

"Perhaps once again the government need to think very carefully about how they approach this issue, as it is clear there are limits to the effectiveness of relying on employer and landlord checks to address illegal immigration."

James Brokenshire replaces Harper after resignation

Junior Home Office minister James Brokenshire has replaced Mark Harper as Immigration Minister, who resigned after discovering that his cleaner was in Britain illegally.

James Brokenshire will replace Mark Harper as immigration minister Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Karen Bradley will move from the whips office to fill Mr Brokenshire's role.

Ms Bradley will be succeeded by John Penrose within the whips office, and Harriet Baldwin will be brought into the government as a junior whip.

Tory MPs lend support to Mark Harper after resignation

Conservative MPs have voiced their support for Mark Harper, who has resigned as Immigration Minister after he discovered he was employing a cleaner who no longer had the right to live in the UK.

Tory MP Nick de Bois said he was "very sorry" to hear of Mr Harper's departure, calling him "a very good minister, colleague and decent man".

Conservative MP Andrew Percy said Mr Harper was a "really decent guy", and said it was "like him to act honourably" by resigning as he did.

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Mark Harper: 'I must hold myself to a higher standard'

Mark Harper, who has resigned as Immigration Minister after discovering that his cleaner was in the UK illegally, said that he felt compelled to resign even though he had "complied with the law at all times".

Mark Harper has resigned as immigration minister after discovering his cleaner was in the country illegally Credit: PA

In his resignation letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, the Conservative MP said: "As Immigration Minister, who is taking legislation through Parliament which will toughen up our immigration laws, I should hold myself to a higher standard than expected of others."

He added: "I have always believed that politics is a team game, not an individual sport.

"Under the circumstances, I have therefore decided that the right course is for me to return to the backbenches. I am sorry for any embarrassment caused."

Mr Harper said he would continue to support the Conservative party and the government "in whatever way I can".

Theresa May 'extremely sorry' over Harper resignation

Following the resignation of Immigration Minister Mark Harper, Home Secretary Theresa May said:

Mark has been an excellent minister and he can be proud of the role he has played in sharply reducing immigration to Britain.

He has been a first-rate colleague and his decision reflects his loyal commitment to the Conservative Party, the Government and the Prime Minister.

I am extremely sorry to lose him from the Home Office but I am confident that he will be able to bring his considerable talents to government as a minister again in future.

PM accepted Harper's resignation 'with regret'

The Prime Minister accepted the resignation of Immigration Minister Mark Harper "with regret", Downing Street said.

Harper announced his resignation over his employment of a cleaner who was not permitted to work in the UK.

"Mark Harper offered his resignation after he was informed that his cleaner did not have indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom, despite having shown him documents claiming she did," a Downing Street statement read.

"He immediately notified the Prime Minister - who accepted his resignation with regret. There is no suggestion that Mr Harper knowingly employed an illegal immigrant."

'No suggestion that Harper knowingly employed worker'

Immigration Minister Mark Harper has resigned. Credit: PA Wire

There is "no suggestion that Mark Harper knowingly employed an illegal immigrant", Downing Street have said.

The Immigration Minister has announced his resigned over the issue.

Number 10 said David Cameron had "accepted his resignation with regret".

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