Yvette Cooper: The problem has got substantially worse since the election. At terminal 3 alone the number of absconders was 115 in 2009; in 2011 the report estimates that it was “between 300 and 350, significantly higher than previous years”, and the proportion being caught later has halved. That is what the report says. Time and again, the situation is getting worse month on month, not better. Is not the truth that this is another example of failing border control and weaker action on illegal immigration on the Home Secretary’s watch? We have controls being downgraded hundreds of times, hundreds of staff being cut and at the last minute re-recruited, drugs and gun checks stopped, and more people like Raed Salah managing to walk through, when they should have been stopped. Will the Home Secretary get a grip?
Transcript from House of Commons
Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) (Lab):The borders inspector has said that the number of people absconding at border control, slipping through without permission, escaping from detention or disappearing after temporary admission has more than doubled since the election, and the number who are later caught has fallen. Can the Home Secretary explain why that has happened?
Mrs May: We take the issue of security at the border extremely seriously. That is why we have been following up the report of the chief inspector of the UK Border Agency, as his title then was, in relation to the Border Force and ensuring that the—sadly—poor situation that had developed over a number of years under the Labour Government is being addressed.