Govt: Heathrow queues 'too long'

The Immigration Minister says passengers at Heathrow Airport are being made to wait for too long to get into the UK. Damian Green wants the Border Force to change the way it operates.

Live updates

Labour: Leaked secret waiting times at Heathrow T3 dispel No 10's 'severe weather conditions' claims

Chris Bryant, Shadow Immigration Minister has said that recent leaked figures showing over a hundred breaches in border security at Heathrow's Terminal 3, dispels the Government's ' severe weather conditions' line.

Mr Bryant said:

The Government is running out of alibis. These figures show the Government hasn’t given the Border Force enough resources to do the job properly and is displaying utter incompetence.

They can’t blame it on the weather when there were 107 breaches of their target in the first 15 days of April. It should not be beyond the Government to ensure secure borders and the effective processing of visitors through our controls.

– Chris Bryant, Shadow Immigration Minister

Advertisement

Immigration Minister set to make a statement on Heathrow queue delays

Immigration Minister Damian Green is to be grilled by MPs about chronic queues at Heathrow Airport Credit: Reuters/Andrew Winning

Immigration Minister Damian Green is due to make an emergency Commons statement on the lengthy immigration queues at Heathrow. The statement follows weekend disruption at the airport amid concern that the issue is doing "huge damage" to Britain's reputation.

Retired border officers to be brought back for Olympics

Retired immigration officers will be brought back to ease airport border control queues during the Olympics, it was reported.

Passport checkpoint veterans will return to duty over the summer to cope with the extra visitors set to descend on south east terminals, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

It was reported the Border Force, an agency of the Home Office, planned to spend £2.5 million bringing back ex-members of staff who will receive travel expenses, be given hotel accommodation and paid allowances of up to £30 an hour.

Advertisement

Border Force chief: 'Vast majority' pass through immigration control quickly

The vast majority of passengers pass through immigration control quickly. Queues are caused by a number of factors, including incorrect flight manifests or early or late planes which result in bunching.

The important factor is to have staff that are flexibly deployed in the right numbers at the right times and this is what we always try to do. We are working with BAA to monitor arrival schedules and passenger flows for the rest of the weekend.

On the issue of the Olympics, he added:

We are fully prepared to manage busy periods during the Olympics and will be implementing our well-rehearsed plans.

– Brian Moore, Border Force head

BAA spokesperson: 'Everything is looking quite good in the immigration halls'

A spokeswoman for BAA, which owns Heathrow, said Friday night's long queues, which saw passengers waiting for up to an hour, had cleared by midnight.

Discussing the situation today, she said:

"Everything is looking quite good in the immigration halls. Things are moving and we haven't got major queues.

"The Border Force is putting staff where they are needed at the moment."

– BAA spokeswoman

Labour MP: Heathrow queues 'a real problem'

Lengthy queues at Heathrow cleared overnight - but further concerns were raised today about the reputation of the airport with the Olympics on the horizon.

Heathrow airport.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "There is a real problem and the problem has emerged over the last few months.

"I'm not saying we should abandon checks, but it's a choice for the Government - you either look at the way you deal with people when they arrive at Heathrow or you recruit more staff.

"This is not just about the Olympics, this is about what happens before and after, it's about Heathrow as a world-class airport and it's about our reputation, and we need to make sure we get it sorted."

Load more updates Back to top

Latest ITV News reports