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UK probes immigration lapses at British borders

UK probes immigration lapses at British borders

British lawmakers demanded to know Monday whether a policy of relaxing border checks on thousands of passengers at airports and ports could have put national security in jeopardy.
The country's main opposition Labour Party said allegations that border staff had been ordered to routinely suspend some passport checks to ease lines during the summer vacation season were troubling.
Three officials with the country's border agency have been suspended amid an investigation into the claims that scrutiny of biometric passports and other routine work had been scaled back to lessen waiting times.
Yvette Cooper, a Labour legislator, said Britons would be "understandably appalled and shocked" to learn some border checks had been halted.
Labor unions representing border staff say ministers had agreed to a relaxation on checks of British or European Union passengers arriving into Britain.
Opposition legislators said there are concerns that the order may have been extended to include non-European visitors as well.
"In particular, we need to know whether anyone posing a threat to Britain's national security was allowed to enter the U.K.," Cooper said in a letter sent to Home Secretary Theresa May.
May was to address the House of Commons later on Monday.Prime Minister David Cameron's office says an inquiry is under way, but insisted that the leader had full confidence in May.
The Public and Commercial Services Union claimed that border controls were relaxed to help ensure that cuts to the number of border staff didn't result in longer lines at immigration posts.
"As far as our staff were concerned, this was all done with ministerial authority," said Sue Smith, of the union.


Updated : 2021-03-06 04:50 GMT+08:00