Border Force chief will win his case because of your attacks, May is told
May's lawyers said the public comments broke rules on handling disciplinary action
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, faces fresh embarrassment over the borders fiasco after being told by her lawyers that the civil servant at the centre of the storm will win his constructive dismissal case against the department.
Their conclusion means Brodie Clark, who earned £130,000 a year as head of the UK Border Force, is likely to receive a hefty pay-off reflecting his 40 years of service in Whitehall.
He and two colleagues were suspended last week after revelations that biometric and anti-terrorism checks were secretly eased over the summer at ports.
Ms May pinned the blame squarely on him, insisting she knew nothing about the decision. Mr Clark quit on Tuesday, complaining that he had faced such a campaign of vilification that he could not get a fair hearing.
Accusing Ms May of making misleading remarks about him, he said he was resigning to launch a constructive dismissal case.
The Home Secretary's lawyers advised her Mr Clark looks certain to win as the public comments – and private briefing – about him broke Whitehall rules on handling disciplinary action.
The hostile briefing against Mr Clark dismayed colleagues within the Home Office and other departments.
One Downing Street insider told The Independent: "It was an aggressive operation that backfired." Mr Clark was described by Home Office sources as a "rogue civil servant" and it was suggested he could even be prosecuted.
His union, the First Division Association, said Ms May had spent two days "traducing him and damning him".
Alan Johnson, the former Home Secretary, told MPs: "The treatment of Brodie Clark, who I know and respect and admire, has been reprehensible."
Mr Clark had maintained his silence until he resigned and is now preparing to set out his case when he appears before MPs next Tuesday.
The controversy erupted last week when Ms May accused him of covertly approving the relaxation of border checks on new arrivals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) over the summer. She said she had authorised a pilot trial into easing checks on some EEA arrivals, notably children, and switching resources into higher-priority groups of passengers – but not its extension to other travellers.
The furore dominated Westminster for a third day yesterday, with Ed Miliband lambasting ministers' "shambolic" handling of the issue at Prime Minister's Question Time. Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, said staff cuts forced immigration officials to reduce checks.
She produced an internal UK Border Agency email showing staff could authorise back-up at border controls only if checks had already been reduced.
Ms Cooper said: "We are seeing now that the scale of these cuts is putting pressure on the Border Agency."
Ms May said she "stood by every word" she had previously said and mocked Labour's immigration record.
She also pointed out it was Rob Whiteman, the UK Border Agency chief executive, who suspended Mr Clark – and she said he backed her version of events.
Damian Green, the Immigration minister, denied speculation that he and not Ms May had authorised extensions to the pilot scheme.
- 1 Man who was struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons 'was carrying a selfie stick'
- 2 Lisa Randolph-Gant: Queen Elsa cake maker says she will carry on baking and will not let people 'break her spirit'
- 3 Tube strike: This pedestrian-friendly map tells you the time it takes to walk between stations
- 4 Pamplona Running of the Bulls 2015: Three men gored and 10 hospitalised on first day of festival
- 5 Sarah Jessica Parker explains why she is not a feminist: 'It's not just about women now'
Man who was struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons 'was carrying a selfie stick'
Greece debt crisis: Greek future in the euro slips into deeper uncertainty as Alexis Tsipras arrives at emergency talks without a written plan
Man soars over Calgary after tying 110 balloons filled with helium to his lawn chair for PR stunt, gets arrested for mischief
Tube strike: This pedestrian-friendly map tells you the time it takes to walk between stations
Pamplona Running of the Bulls 2015: Three men gored and 10 hospitalised on first day of festival
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
Greece debt crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande issue Athens with 24-hour ultimatum to avoid crashing out of the euro
Greece crisis: Referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its lack of genuine legitimacy
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...