Brodie Clark resigns
UK Borders Agency Chief Brodie Clark has resigned from his position and announced that he will lodge a claim for contructive dismissal. Mr Clark, who is currently suspended, released a statement saying: "My employer has disregarded my right to reply in favour of political convenience".
He added: "I am anxious to take part in any independent inquiry into matters relating to UK Border Agency but my position at UKBA had been made untenable because of the statements made in the House of Commons by the Home Secretary Theresa May. Those statements are wrong and were made without the benefit of hearing my response to formal allegations. With the Home Secretary announcing and repeating her view that I am at fault, I cannot see how any process conducted by the Home Office or under its auspices, can be fair and balanced."
David Cameron has said the relaxation of border security was "not acceptable". Speaking to the Liason Committee, the Prime Minister said "clearly this is not acceptable and it is not acceptable it went on so long".
Mr Cameron defended Theresa May, however, saying she had launched "a pilot scheme that in some ways was successful".
The Prime Minister's backing comes as Labour announced that they have called an opposition day motion calling on the Government to urgently publish the instructions that Theresa May and Damian Green gave to the UK Border Authority. Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: "We still have more questions than answers from the Home Secretary about the borders fiasco."
The First Division Association, a union representing senior UKBA officials, has called for an independent inquiry into the allegations.The union also expressed concern at Ms May's answers to the Home Affairs Committee today, saying: "It appears that Mr Clark has been found guilty by the Home Secretary even before he has been asked a single question."
Ms May insisted to the committee that she was "not aware" of the extended relaxation of checks that took place under the UK Border Agency. The Home Secretary said that the pilot she had authorised "did not put border security at risk". She also said there was "still a lot to be done" at the UKBA, adding: "I certainly don't underestimate the size of the task." She insisted that the "UKBA of today will not be the UKBA of tomorrow".
An email, claiming to be from an employee of the UK Border Agency and seen by PoliticsHome, said that officials made an entry in an official log every time a relaxation of the checks was authorised. That log was then sent to the Home Office on a weekly basis, the email claimed. It appears to contradict Ms May's statement yesterday that she was unaware of the extent of the changes at the Agency. Ms May denied that she had not seen regular reports.
Today the Prime Minister's official spokesman defended the lack of publicity for the pilot by stating "it's an operational decision" and that it was "about deployment of resources".
Asked if the Prime Minister was happy that the pilot had gone ahead, the spokesman replied: "Yes". But he added: "We are clearly not happy with the situation [that followed]."
Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs Committee, also announced that the former head of the UKBA Brodie Clark and Immigration Minister Damian Green would also be questioned by the Committee.