Ex-chief of borders and immigration David Neal said he was fired 'for doing his job'

Credit: PA

The former borders watchdog David Neal told MPs he was fired "for doing [his] job" after his role was terminated amid claims he breached the terms of his appointment.

Mr Neal said Tuesday that the means by which he was fired were "shocking" after he became embroiled in a row with the Home Office for saying the UK Border Force had failed to check hundreds of private jets arriving at London City airport.

He was removed from his position last week after he said the Home Office was being too slow in publishing reports by his department.

Mr Neal told the Commons Home Affairs Committee: “I’ve been sacked for doing my job.

“I think I’ve been sacked for doing what the law asks of me and I’ve breached, I’ve fallen down over a clause in my employment contract, which I think is a crying shame.”

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Mr Neil claimed the Home Office's handling of his reports was a “scandal and incredibly dangerous”.

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In written evidence sent to the committee, Mr Neal called for the watchdog role to have greater powers and more resources in order to fully scrutinise the work of the Home Office and hold its decisions to account.

He told the committee: “I now know that the Home Office, so the ministers, supported my reappointment, my extension, my reappointment. And the Home Secretary supported my reappointment.

“That reappointment process was sent to the Cabinet Office and that was sent on to No 10 and it was turned down by No 10.

“So, I’ve no idea why it was turned down by No 10.”

Mr Neal also denied a suggestion by Home Secretary James Cleverly that he had been afforded the opportunity to reapply for his role, telling MPs that was “not the case”.

Mr Neal's tenure as the independent borders watchdog was due to end on March 21 and he claimed No 10 had blocked his reappointment before he was ultimately fired.

Mr Neal told the MPs he had been fired in a Microsoft Teams meeting held online.

The former borders inspector said: “Worse than that, for my high-performing team of 30 civil servants, the notification that I was sacked was in the media before my team or I had had the chance to speak to them, which is just shocking. Shocking leadership.”

The Home Secretary defended the professionalism of the Home Office in the wake of Mr Neal’s comments to MPs, telling the PA news agency: “It was disappointing the sequence of events that led to me asking him to stand down but we have remained professional throughout this process.”

Mr Cleverly said he was "absolutely confident" that the Home Office was focused on his priorities, which he listed as: "protecting the British people from crime, from terrorism, particularly focus on protection of women and girls, and making sure that we protect our borders and stop the boats.”

Labour branded David Neal's sacking as “total Tory chaos on borders and immigrations” last week, while the Shadow Immigration Minister Stephen Kinnock said “the Conservatives have undermined our border security, and are failing to show any proper leadership to sort it out."

“Rather than confront uncomfortable truths, the government is hiding them – sitting on 15 unpublished reports which are likely to expose failings in their handling of the UK’s borders.

“Those must be published immediately,” he added.

The Home Office did not immediately respond to ITV News' request for comment.

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