Visa e-mail met with collective amnesia

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Indy Politics

The Home Office faced renewed questions yesterday over how officials fast-tracked a visa for Kimberly Quinn's former nanny. Conservatives accused the Home Office of "collective amnesia" after David Blunkett said neither he nor his officials could remember how a letter warning Leoncia Casalme of a 12-month delay to her visa application found its way into the Whitehall system.

The Home Office faced renewed questions yesterday over how officials fast-tracked a visa for Kimberly Quinn's former nanny. Conservatives accused the Home Office of "collective amnesia" after David Blunkett said neither he nor his officials could remember how a letter warning Leoncia Casalme of a 12-month delay to her visa application found its way into the Whitehall system.

The new questions centre on how Ms Casalme's application was dealt with by Mr Blunkett's officials after she received a letter from the Home Office warning that her application might be delayed by up to a year.

Mr Blunkett admitted on Wednesday that he put the letter in with his overnight work "and it was acted on". He revealed that Sir Alan Budd, the former Treasury official investigating the case, had found that an e-mail had been sent asking for Ms Casalme's application for leave to remain in Britain to be speeded up. "No favours, but slightly quicker," it said.

The former Home Secretary said Sir Alan had uncovered a fax and e-mail between the Home Office and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate even though "no officials remember any of these details at all".

Following Mr Blunkett's departure, Sir Alan's report is likely to focus on the officials who sent and received the fax and e-mail.and is awaited with some trepidation in Whitehall.

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