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Sacked borders inspector says he was fired ‘for doing his job’ after he voiced concerns about ‘high-risk’ aircraft landing in Britain without security checks

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Sacked border watchdog David Neal today told MPs he was fired ‘for doing my job’ after he voiced concerns about ‘high-risk’ aircraft landing in Britain without security checks. 

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Mr Neal’s contract was terminated by the Home Office with immediate effect last week after he told the Mail of ‘dangerous’ failings which allowed passengers aboard ‘high-risk’ flights to evade passport controls. 

The Home Office say the inspector – who had been due to step down next month – lost the confidence of Home Secretary James Cleverly after breaching the terms of his appointment by ‘leaking confidential information’. 

But Mr Neal told the Commons Home Affairs Committee: ‘I’ve been sacked for doing my job. I think I’ve been sacked for doing what the law asks of me and I’ve breached, I’ve fallen down over a clause in my employment contract, which I think is a crying shame.’

Mr Neal hit out at ‘shocking leadership’ by the Home Office as he told MPs he had been fired in a Microsoft Teams meeting held online.

David Neal’s contract was terminated by the Home Office with immediate effect last week after he told the Mail of ‘dangerous’ failings which allowed passengers aboard ‘high-risk’ flights to evade passport controls

The Home Office say the inspector - who had been due to step down next month - lost the confidence of Home Secretary James Cleverly

The Home Office say the inspector – who had been due to step down next month – lost the confidence of Home Secretary James Cleverly 

The former borders inspector said: ‘Worse than that, for my high-performing team of 30 civil servants, the notification that I was sacked was in the media before my team or I had had the chance to speak to them, which is just shocking. Shocking leadership.’

He told MPs his team were the ‘best in class’ at the Home Office ‘and for them it’s a real kick to find out, listening to the news at six, to find that out’.

Mr Neal, whose tenure as the independent borders watchdog was due to end on March 21, claimed No 10 had blocked his reappointment before he was ultimately fired.

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He said: ‘I now know that the Home Office, so the ministers, supported my reappointment, my extension, my reappointment. And the Home Secretary supported my reappointment.

‘That reappointment process was sent to the Cabinet Office and that was sent on to No 10 and it was turned down by No 10.

‘So I’ve no idea why it was turned down by No 10.’

He added: ‘So I can’t tell you, I can’t tell you why I have not been reappointed. But I can tell you that the Home Office, as far as I understand from material that has been disclosed to us, approved my reappointment.’

The material was disclosed as part of a judicial review in relation to the Manston migrant processing centre.

Mr Neal disclosed last Tuesday that UK Border Force - according to figures later disputed by the Home Office - failed to check the occupants of hundreds of private jets

Mr Neal disclosed last Tuesday that UK Border Force – according to figures later disputed by the Home Office – failed to check the occupants of hundreds of private jets

Mr Neal disclosed in the Mail last Tuesday that UK Border Force – according to figures later disputed by the Home Office – failed to check the occupants of hundreds of private jets arriving at City airport last year.

Later that day, Home Office minister Tom Pursglove confirmed Mr Neal’s key finding – that high-risk flights had gone through security checks ‘remotely’ rather than in person.

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Mr Neal said Border Force’s own rules – signed off by ministers – require 100 per cent of high-risk flights to undergo face-to-face checks.

A remote clearance means that instead of being inspected in person by an immigration officer, passengers undergo a ‘digital record check’ and are then allowed to leave the airport, it is understood.

Mr Neal voiced fears that the debacle means gangsters, illegal immigrants, trafficking victims and even extremists may have entered the UK without even rudimentary scrutiny.

He described it as ‘a scandal, and incredibly dangerous for this country’s border security’. The office of the chief inspector is now likely to be vacant for months while a successor is appointed.

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘We terminated the appointment of David Neal after he breached the terms of his appointment by leaking confidential and inaccurate information and lost the confidence of the Home Secretary.

‘As the Home Secretary made clear to Mr Neal, we are committed to publishing the reports and will provide formal government responses soon.

‘The recruitment process for the next Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration is already in progress.’

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Mr Neal voiced fears that the debacle means gangsters, illegal immigrants, trafficking victims and even extremists may have entered the UK without even rudimentary scrutiny

Mr Neal voiced fears that the debacle means gangsters, illegal immigrants, trafficking victims and even extremists may have entered the UK without even rudimentary scrutiny 

Source: Daily Mail

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