Immigration Minister to be grilled over Heathrow queues
Friday 27 April 2012
Immigration Minister Damian Green is to be grilled by MPs about chronic queues at Heathrow Airport amid concern that the issue is doing “huge damage” to Britain's reputation.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, announced the move after reports of lengthy delays to get past passport control again last night.
There are fears that the problems are tarnishing the UK's image, particularly with the London Olympics only three months away.
Alastair Campbell, the former Downing Street communications chief who was caught up in last night's queues, tweeted: “If this is what Heathrow T5 border queue is like on an average Thursday, Olympic athletes should think about coming soon.”
Mr Vaz told London's Evening Standard newspaper that the issue was of “great concern” and needed to be addressed irrespective of the Olympics.
“Huge damage is done to our country's reputation,” he said.
“The Government has a choice either to increase the number of staff at the airports or to restart the suspension of the checks.
“This needs to be done irrespective of the Olympics. This is not an Olympics issue.
“It is about ensuring that Heathrow is a world-class airport every day of the year.”
A Border Force spokesman said: "We will not compromise border security but we always aim to keep disruption to a minimum by using our staff flexibly to meet demand."
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