Home Office fires chief inspector of borders and immigration

Politics

The Home Office has fired the chief inspector of borders and immigration who claimed UK Border Force had failed to check the occupants of hundreds of private jets at a London airport.

The department said it had “terminated the appointment” of David Neal on the grounds he had “lost the confidence of the home secretary”.

Mr Neal, the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, provided Home Office data to the Daily Mail on Monday which purported to show UK Border Force failed to check passengers on hundreds of private jets arriving at City Airport.

The government has strongly refuted the allegations, with immigration minister Tom Pursglove telling MPs yesterday that the Home Office “categorically rejects these claims by David Neal”.

Mr Pursglove said Border Force performed “checks on 100% of scheduled passengers arriving in the UK and risk-based intelligence-led checks on general aviation”.

He said it was “deeply disturbing that information which has no basis in fact was leaked by the independent chief inspector to a national newspaper before the Home Office had the chance to respond”.

“We are urgently investigating this breach of confidential information in full in the normal way.”

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Responding to an urgent question from Labour on Tuesday, Mr Pursglove, the Home Office’s minister for legal migration, said: “When it comes to the questions that she raises around these flights at London City airport and the information that has been put in the public domain, the Home Office categorically rejects these claims by David Neal.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We have terminated the appointment of David Neal, the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, after he breached the terms of appointment and lost the confidence of the home secretary.

“The planned recruitment process for the next independent chief inspector of borders and immigration is in progress.”

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