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In a Security Industry Authority statement, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith tried to defend herself over the issue of illegal immigrants being given security-related jobs. She emphasised how quick and "robust" she had been in dealing with it and claimed it hadn’t been made public knowledge because they didn’t have a clear enough picture of the situation.

David Davis responded:

"When Gordon Brown became leader of the Labour Party he heralded: "…a different type of politics – a more open and honest dialogue: frank about problems, candid about dilemmas, never losing touch with the concerns of people."

"Faced with one of her first tests, why wasn’t the Home Secretary frank and candid about the 5,000 illegal workers licensed to work in sensitive security posts?

She has now admitted to the House that she was first told on 12 July, but instructed officials that the matter was ‘not ready for public announcement’?

There are two key issues. Has she dealt effectively with the original crisis, and has she been open and honest with the public?

The response of the Home Office so far has been blunder, panic and cover up.

The blunder when they set up the Security Industry Authority, they did not ask it to check automatically whether they were granting security licenses to illegal workers.

The panic when they were first told about this last April.

The cover-up when they she decided not to tell the public because, according to one of the leaked emails "She did not think the lines to take that we have currently have are good enough for Press Office or Ministers to use."

She says because the analysis of this issue was not complete. Let us be clear about this. They have known of the problem since April. She says they had not completed the analysis by August.It is now November and this House has been sitting since the beginning of October.

Is this really the first opportunity she has had to tell the House about this?"

In response she said it was disingenuous to speak with hindsight.

Michael Howard stood up to ask "when this fiasco first came to light, did she tell the Prime Minister?" which she brushed of by saying that was no fiasco and that there was "strengthened and improved reaction". Whatever that means.

6 comments for: Davis accuses Jacqui Smith of risking public safety in order to avoid political embarrassment

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