Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Charles Clarke's Statement: Live Blog

No apology for not coming to the House yesterday. Starts by giving figures for people being released and not deported. Says immediate priority is to put it right. Interestingly, Blair has buggered off. Clarke is flanked by Straw and Hain, rather than his own junior Ministers Blears & McNulty. Gives figures about current cases being considered. House is very quiet. "I am confident we can build on this performance". Cue Tory laughter. He sounds like a robot. Going through the motions. And that's it!!! 4 minutes! David Davis says he has a broad degree of respect for Clarke. But it's first duty of Government to protect the public. Govt has failed. Hilary Armstrong shouts abuse. DD says yet another failure of Home Office incompetence. No excuse for Home Sec not knowing about it. Quotes HM Inspectorate report (see Post earlier today). Quotes NAO. In Sept Cherly Gillan asked how many foreign nationals awaiting deportation. Told info could only be got at disproportionate cost. In Nov Immigration Minister said all are being removed promptly. Stillno definitive figures. Says "to the best of his knowledge" - not good enough. Is he able to tell House how many have committeed further offences. Half probably have done so. How may have been released and who has been deported. How many killers, paedophiles, rapists, drug dealers are at large as a result of his policy failure. 288 releases over 8 months is a faster rate than 700 over 6 years. So rate faster after problem identified than before. A stark example of a Minister not in charge of his department. Home Sec a proud man. Yesterday I said he should not go. Like the PM in his admission earlier, we did not know all the facts. DD now says I'm sorry to say, the Home Sec's position is now untenable. Sterling performance by DD. Clarke says public safety first duty of any government. yes, there have been systemic failures. Failure of information. It must be corrected. Clarke apologises. Says he will produce information in the form DD requests when he has it in every respect. Final point: First duty of thos ein public life is to take responsibility but to take responsibility to improve the situation. I intend to put things right. End!

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