The Sketch: Cooper the leader keeps immigration pot boiling


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The Independent Online

Immigration fiasco at the Home Office – it's one of those typesetters' cliches like "EU deal unravels as markets understand it". The current fiasco probably has a little life left in it, but for connoisseurs it lacks the scope of the famous series some years ago involving the downfall of three ministers with one-armed Romanian roofers being allowed in and foreign murderers, rapists and terrorists being allowed out. World-class scandals they were, with a minister hanging on to her position so tightly that parts of her hand are still attached to the gratis car.

This one is about "intelligence-led" security at the ports which consisted of letting people in without checking who they were. For three hours in the morning and afternoon, travel documents weren't checked. It was random rather than intelligent but during this time, the Home Secretary and Prime Minister claim, seizures of guns, drugs and undesirable entrants went up, along with media and opposition outrage.

Both Ed Miliband and Yvette Cooper kept the pot boiling through PMQs and an Opposition Day afterwards. The former was heard in a silence that was either respectful, awed or mortified. Yvette had the whole party behind her, bellowing like angry cattle.

"And what do we hear from the party opposite?" The answer to Theresa May's question was heard in a great many-headed mooing of "Give waaaay, give waaaay!" There were shouts as well. The House went through its repertoire of mutual indignation, each side amazed at the other's lack of self awareness. How could they be so low, so dishonourable, so...

The lack of a new fact didn't help the Opposition case – but then there was a new fact. Ed Miliband found it. In a little side drama he plucked at Yvette's papers and jabbed at the top line of the second page. Yvette then stood up and bored in on the Home Secretary. They made a good team. Yvette leader and Ed special adviser.