Ex-borders chief in Whitehall deal

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The former head of the UK’s Border Force who resigned over last year’s security row has reached an out-of-court settlement with the Home Office in which neither side admits any liability or wrongdoing, it has emerged.

Brodie Clark was suspended and then quit his 40-year career in the Home Office in November amid the row over lax border security.

He went on to launch a constructive dismissal case in which he could have netted £135,000, but has now issued a joint statement with the Home Office saying the case was settled on Thursday with no “admission of liability or wrongdoing from either side”.

Mr Clark insisted he was “no rogue officer” but admitted using guidance designed for health and safety emergencies to suspend fingerprint checks at the UK’s ports, actions which had not been given authorisation by Ministers.

But he accused Home Secretary Theresa May of blaming him out of “political convenience”.

Announcing the settlement, the value of which has not been disclosed, the statement said: “The Home Office and Mr Clark can announce that differences between them relating to Mr Clark’s departure from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in November 2011 have been settled.

“The settlement is made without the admission of liability or wrongdoing from either side.”

It went on: “Mr Clark remains at one with the objective of the Home Office in its efforts to maintain the security of the UK’s border and he wishes his ex-colleagues every future success as they deal with the challenges of this demanding and vital business.

“The Home Office, in recognising Mr Clark’s notable contribution to public life over a long period, wishes him every success for the future.

“Both Mr Clark and the Home Office are saddened by the events that took place in November 2011.

“Mr Clark and the Home Office believe that reaching a settlement is right and that it will ensure that the focus is correctly maintained on future border security.

“As is usual in these circumstances neither party will make further comment,” said the statement.

Paul Whiteman, of the FDA trade union which represented Mr Clark, said: “Mr Clark is pleased with the outcome of yesterday’s settlement, which has now brought some closure for him on the unfortunate events of last November.”

The row led to the troubled UKBA being split in two earlier this month after hundreds of thousands of people were allowed into the UK without being checked against a Home Office watch list.

The official investigation into the relaxation of border checks last year found confusion, poor record-keeping and ambiguous instructions were rife in the UKBA and borders staff were acting without ministerial approval.

Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Brian Moore took over as head of the new Border Force at the start of this month.

Earlier this week, Immigration Minister Damian Green said clear minimum standards for border checks would be brought in to stop staff cutting corners and acting without Ministerial approval in future.

But he also blamed the lax security on the previous Labour government.

Mr Green said coalition Government Ministers had simply inherited a legacy that “left a lot to be desired”, “where communications between staff and managers were unclear, and where our policy towards key checks was ambiguous or non-existent”.

Labour has denied the allegations, insisting it was time serving Ministers “took responsibility for what has happened on their watch”.