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Labour: Theresa May is 'hiding her own failings'

The Home Secretary has been accused of “hiding her own failings” by preventing sections of a report into UK borders from being made available to the public.

Theresa May prevented 15 sections of a report by Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine from being published by claiming it was in the interest of national security to keep them secret.

However, the Tory MP was criticised by Labour members for hiding information which shows how many illegal immigrants have not been fingerprinted before entering the UK from France.

Yet again the Government refuses to be straight with the British people about immigration and our borders....What possible reason can there be for redacting elements of a report by a highly-respected independent inspector?

If Theresa May thinks Mr Vine's report would imperil national security or provide ammunition for illegal migrants, she should share the full report with the Home Affairs Select Committee and ourselves and explain why the full report cannot be published without masses of redactions.

– Shadow Immigration minister Chris Bryant

Home Secretary accused of borders 'cover up'

Theresa May has come under fire for an alleged “cover-up” of failings at the Home Office and hushed up criticism of how UK borders are run.

Theresa May at Heathrow border control Credit: PA

Campaigners and MPs accused the Home Secretary of using legal powers to keep fifteen sections of a report into border controls between the UK and France from the public.

One of the sections kept from secret was a passage on fears from border staff at Calais that resources are stretched.

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Vaz's concern over upsurge in immigration cases

Keith Vaz, the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee Chairman, has said the backlog of outstanding immigration and asylum cases is "spiralling out of control".

In a statement, he said: "There are now about the same number of cases awaiting resolution by UKBA as there are people living in Iceland. The backlog is spiralling out of control."

Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz. Credit: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

MPs in the committee added: "We are concerned that the closure of the controlled archives may result in a significant number of people being granted effective amnesty in the United Kingdom, irrespective of the merits of their case.

"For this reason we are concerned that the final checks made on these cases should be thorough and that they should not be rushed to meet an artificial deadline.

"We are particularly interested to find out whether any such individuals would be offered an amnesty or if they would have to start their asylum or immigration application again."

Airlines and airports back risk-based checks

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and airports operator BAA have told MPs they backed risk-based checks, but insisted security was paramount.

Corneel Koster, director of operations, safety and security at Virgin Atlantic, said: "We have a view that risk-based security can work. We think it's a direction that the UK Border Force can move in.

"It allows the Border Force to allocate resources to make sure security is as robust as possible and also efficient."

He also blamed the worsening queues on working patterns, staff cutbacks, a move away from the risk-based security regime and an increase in passenger numbers.

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More staff at Heathrow to combat queues

Immigration Minister Damian Green has called for better information on arriving passengers from airlines, saying three times as many passengers arrived at Heathrow yesterday morning than were expected.

On Friday, the Border Force was told to expect some 2,500 passengers between 6am and 9am yesterday. This rose to 5,000 at six hours' notice, but in reality some 7,500 passengers turned up, Mr Green said.

Passengers have been experiencing long queues at Heathrow Airport.

The opening of a central control room at Heathrow later this month, along with the introduction of 16 mobile teams of 10 people, will make a significant difference, he said.

Mr Green also announced that 70 new staff being recruited to work at Heathrow Terminal 2 when it reopens would start training immediately after the Olympics to ensure the Border Force retained its flexibility after the Games.

Damian Green: 'Waits at airports will depend on the wind'

Long waits for passengers at the UK's airports will depend on the wind, the Immigration Minister said today. Damian Green said bringing in risk-based security checks would not be a panacea to reducing queues.

Immigration Minister Damian Green

Passengers travelling to London's Heathrow Airport from New York may well have longer waits to clear security if their flight arrives 10 minutes after one from Lagos, Nigeria, than if it arrives 10 minutes earlier.

"That will depend on the wind, over which, with the best will in the world, airlines and the Border Force don't have the control," he said.

Immigration Minister to be quizzed over three hour queues

Passenger wait at immigration queues at Heathrow Credit: PA

Keith Vaz will chair the committee responsible for finding out why queue problems continue to persist at Heathrow Airport.

With the London Olympics just three months away, there are fears our border agencies will be unable to cope.

Vaz has insisted thatthe problem needs to be addressed urgently, irrespective of the Olympics.

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