Amber Rudd placed on notice to fix Teflon Theresa's issues with immigration

Written by Tom Smithard on 3 August 2016 in Diary
Diary

The new home secretary will have to fix her predecessor's failure to tighten up border security, according to a new report.

Her predecessor could have been nicknamed Teflon Theresa after avoiding blame for failing to control migration on her watch – but today Amber Rudd is being put on notice that she will not have it so easy.

In a post-Leave world levels of immigration will be even more closely monitored and failure to handle the political hot potato by the new home secretary will not be tolerated.

It is this climate the home affairs committee launches its new report on controlling Britain’s border – with dire warnings that only three patrol boats are currently protecting the 7,000 miles of our coastline.

Britain's border security is “clearly under-resourced”, the report says, and warships should be drafted in to guard small harbours against people-smugglers, which are increasingly seen as soft targets by migrants trying to avoid heavy security at ferry ports and Eurotunnel trains.

Royal Navy chiefs are understood to be prepared to devote one or more river-class patrol boats to assist the border force if Rudd requests them, according to the Daily Mail.

Two of the 260ft vessels, which have a crew of 45, are working on fishery protection but could be released if environment secretary Andrea Leadsom gives permission.

In an interview with PoliticsHome, home affairs committee chairman Keith Vaz said:

“The [UK Navy] vessels should be used to try and break up these criminal gangs because we are at war. This is a war, a sea war with criminal gangs ... I hope the Government will act. That's the point of producing reports of this kind. At the end of the day, it's in our interests, our national interests to make sure that it acts. It's a huge problem, and that's why it needs to be tackled in a number of ways.”

Today the Times reveals that up to one million illegal immigrants may be living in Britain and many will never be deported, according to a former head of the UK Border Agency.

Rob Whiteman, who ran the agency from 2011 to 2013, warned that insufficient attention was being paid to the number of non-EU migrants working illegally. He said:

“The scale of illegal migration and illegal working is not nearly discussed as much as other issues around immigration. The government does not have the resources or political levers to deport hundreds of thousands of people.”

During her six years as home secretary Theresa May never once met Conservative commitments to reduce net migration to the “tens of thousands”. Even excluding EU citizens, where she did not have control, net migration stood at 204,000 in 2011; 157,000 in 2012; 143,000 in 2013; 194,000 in 2014 and 188,000 in 2015.

She also avoided censure for sending out the ‘Go Home’ vans in 2014 to round up illegal migrants – a total of 11 left the country – and only reintroduced exit checks on those leaving the country in April 2015 after sustained pressure from the Liberal Democrats, despite it being promised in 2010.

Picture by: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire/Press Association Images

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