Confirmation that the self-resigned head of the UK Border Force, Brodie Clark, is toast, has just come from the grilling by the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee of the Home Office Permanent Secretary, Helen Ghosh, and then of Damian Green, the immigration Minister.
The 2007 operational instructions to allow non-routine relaxation of checking in certain circumstances we now know were known as 'Howie' (if I've spelt that right). It'll be a pompous acronym for something very dodgy. Anyone any guesses? 'Home Office walk-in immigration excuse'?
It turns out that they were not known about either by ministers or (supposedly) the heads of the Borders & Immigration Agency right from back in 2007. So the
BIA /Home Office at some high level (not excluding the very top) were actively hiding it from ministers.
And well they might. It turns out that 'Howie' applies only to EU citizens, and therefore Brodie Clark cannot hide behind 'Howie' with respect to any form of relaxation of checks on non-EU nationals, even if 'health & safety' concerns had triggered the recourse to 'Howie'.
That biometrics were not in place in 2007 and consequently could not be explicitly covered in 'Howie' is neither here nor there, because implicitly there was no guidance of any kind (whether unknown or known to ministers and Home Office top brass) re non-EU citizens; and also beside the point is the abuse of the guidelines to make routine what was intended to be a downgrade in checks only in an emergency. There was no scope at all for what Brodie Clark did.
So he's a gonner.
The issue then is how on earth could, supposedly, nobody senior to him not have discovered in four whole years what was going on? It was not until the most recent inspection by the independent Inspector, John Vine, that it came to light.
Either the Home Office is lying or it's incredibly incompetent.
This was the issue back in 2004 regarding what I exposed -- total incompetence and blatant lying.
It looks very much like a set-up under the previous (Labour) administration akin to the crime boss who gives an instruction on the understanding that it's not traceable back to him, and that he doesn't want to know the methods required to carry it out.
Or was it that the higher echelons of the Civil Service, with their facility to second-guess ministerial political aims, were doing the dirty work without actual instruction?
Well, as mired in PC as is the Conservative Party, they're out of whack with the insanely PC Home Office; so the cosy pulling the wool over the eyes of the public is not quite so easy now.