April 30th FT Phillip Stephens
David Cameron confronts a couple of challenges. The first is to rescue his premiership; the second to put an end to the chaos at Heathrow. Mr Cameron should merge the two projects by borrowing a trick from Margaret Thatcher. The Lady knew well that at times like this the best a prime minister can do is take the side of the voters and run against the government….
Mr Cameron should then summon Theresa May. He should tell the home secretary that Heathrow’s broken immigration system cruelly mocks his globe-trotting efforts to promote Britain as an international business hub. You cannot be open for business and closed to foreigners. Ms May should clear the queues within the week or clear her desk.
And Jim Hacker Style what does he do the next morning?
The Prime Minister had a one-to-one “update” with Theresa May, after it emerged travellers have been forced to wait for up to 90 minutes for passport checks at the London airport.
Asked whether the Prime Minister has confidence in Mrs May, a Downing Street spokesman said: “The Home Office have made clear they think there is a problem here and they are deploying resources to deal with that.”
Downing Street denied that Mrs May was being read “the riot act”, saying it was understandable that the Prime Minister would want to be updated about “important issues” in person.
Of course the previous Head of the Border Agency lost his job for taking sensible measures to claer queues so his successor Brain Moore said today
Asked how he would feel if there were four-hour queues to enter Britain during the [Olympic] Games, he said: “If that is necessary in light of the threats and risks that we face at that time, then so be it. We will not compromise on safety.”
So the attitude of Heathrow Staff is clearly to do exactly what the Home Secretary Says whatever chaos it causes because we don’t want to lose our jobs. Eventually the Prime Minister will notice and sack the Home Secretary.
Minister plan to cut 1,552 posts in the Border Agency by 2015 (channel 4 News) whilst at the same time increasing land fees at Heathrow to make up the difference.
In acting both as regulator and provider of entry services at Heathrow the Home Office is effectively running a protection racket no different to a New Jersey wise guy demanding payment for ‘waste disposal’ services for which they were the sole supplier. The provision of entry services at Heathrow should be referred to Ofcom, and if it is not airlines should simply boycott Heathrow.