Beverley Hughes, Immigration Minister, bows to inevitable and resigns
A scandal has been revealed over the past several days in which immigration applications are alleged to have been fabricated in large numbers, specially from Romania and Bulgaria, two countries which have 'associate' status with the European Union and which will most likely become full members of the EU within the next several years.
She stated in the House of Commons two days ago (Tuesday) that "I am neither incompetent nor dishonest". It is clear, I think that she is indeed not dishonest, but it has seemed clear for some time that she is incompetent - she seems now to have recognised this herself after having re-discovered an exchange of correspondence dating from about a year ago in which she acknowledged, in writing, that there was a problem that needed to be dealt with. It does seem incredible that she can have 'forgotten' that she was aware that such serious breaches existed in the execution of immigration laws, and her attempts to distance herself from these breaches over the past several days have stretched credulity, but the important thing is that she has now gone. The Home Office, and the Home Secretary David Blunkett, do have some explaining to do and a great deal of house-cleaning must quickly be undertaken to bring the practical execution of immigration policies in line with approved guidelines.
Once more, this episode has demonstrated that Tony Blair's government will only admit its faults when solid documentary evidence is available - until that time it continues its standing policy of 'Deny, Deny, Deny.' Such attitudes usually emanate from the top of an organisartion so Tony Blair must take a long hard look at how he is running his Party and our Government. He will have to answer for it one day.
Her replacement has just been announced in the past couple of moments on BBC News24 - it is to be Des Browne, currently a Minister in the Department of Work and Pensions.