Downing Street staff asked to man borders

David Cameron's personal advisers have been asked by the Prime Minister to volunteer to work as border protection staff at Britain's ports and airports during today's strike.

Members of the Downing Street Policy Unit have been asked to put aside their day jobs and relocate to airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick to help reduce the queues of people trying to enter Britain as a result of the nationwide industrial action, The Independent has learnt.

Those who agreed to take part have received training in border security and are expected to be checking passports on "low risk" flights entering the UK.

Mr Cameron hopes the move will show Downing Street is "setting an example" to help mitigate the effects of the strike as well as giving senior political officials an insight into frontline Government "delivery" services.

As special advisers, members of the Policy Unit are technically civil servants and have the security clearance which would allow them to work "airside" at ports.

"We don't know how many have agreed but they have been asked," said a senior source. "The only problem is you can't imagine anyone less scary than the wonks in the policy unit."

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