Redacted borders report ‘a cover-up’ say MPs

Home Secretary Theresa May has been accused of a “cover-up” after she used legal powers to keep parts of a critical inspection into UK border controls secret.

Fifteen sections of the report into controls between France and the UK have been redacted for national security reasons, including part of a passage revealing staff and managers fear resources in Calais are stretched.

However, politicians and campaigners have how accused Mrs May of hiding “her own failings” exposed in the report by chief inspector of borders and immigration John Vine.

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Shadow Immigration Minister Chris Bryant said: “Yet again the Government refuses to be straight with the British people about immigration and our borders.

“This cover-up and the failure at our borders provide yet more dents in this Government’s much-tarnished credibility.

“What possible reason can there be for redacting elements of a report by a highly-respected independent inspector?

“If Theresa May thinks Mr Vine’s report would imperil national security or provide ammunition for illegal migrants, she should share the full report with the Home Affairs Select Committee and ourselves and explain why the full report cannot be published without masses of redactions.”

In unredacted sections of the report, Mr Vine warns that thousands of illegal immigrants attempting to sneak into the UK through France have not been fingerprinted by border officials for nearly four years.

In addition, it reveals that Border Force, the Home Office law enforcement division stationed at ports and airports, is fining drivers and firms guilty of bringing in illegal immigrants far below the maximum allowed by law.

Mr Vine reveals that border staff remain concerned over the effect of the so-called Lille loophole, which effectively exempts some passengers who travel to the UK on Eurostar trains from Brussels, in Belgium, via Lille, in France, from immigration checks.

A Home Office spokesman said: “In accordance with the UK Borders Act 2007 the Home Secretary, in consultation with the independent chief inspector, is required to redact any material which, if published, would be prejudicial to the interests of national security.”