Houghton and Sunderland South MP, Bridget Phillipson, during a tense session of the Home Affairs Committee, questioned Brodie Clark about the true scale of government cut backs to the security of our borders.
Brodie Clark was called to give evidence before the Home Affairs Committee after differing accounts were given by him and the Home Secretary over the circumstances which resulted in the weakening of UK border checks.
Bridget asked Mr Clark:
Bridget Phillipson: ‘Mr Clark, the Home Secretary has said that the pilot was not introduced to deal with reductions in staffing, and you said it was about effective use of staff resources. Is it the case that it is nothing to do with staffing pressures and everything to do with use of staff time more effectively?‘
Brodie Clark: ‘I think the introduction of a risk-led approach provides a number of benefits. One of those benefits is an improved performance, one of those is that you can actually deliver more with less, and one of those, in the instance of places like Heathrow, is that it will produce a better passenger set of services.‘
Bridget Phillipson: ‘Obviously, the UK Border Force, and the UK Border Agency more generally, are facing a large budget cut and the prospect of losing thousands of staff. Do you anticipate that that will have a negative impact on protecting our borders in the future? Are these kinds of problems inevitable in the future?‘
Brodie Clark: ‘I think this is very, very difficult stuff and I think the impact of the loss of 900 staff over the past 12 months is considerable. That is why I believe we have to do things in a different way. That is why we have to introduce different methods and approaches to how we deliver our business at the border. That is why, for me, a much more focused, risk-led approach stands greater chance of success than simply falling back to do everything to everybody, and slavishly follow process.‘
Commenting after the Committee session, Bridget said:
“After Mr Clark’s testimony, there are now more questions than answers. The Home Affairs Committee needs access to all relevant papers, emails and minutes of meetings related to our inquiry. By withholding these files, the Home Secretary is obstructing the Committee’s efforts to uncover the full facts in this case.
“The Immigration Minister, Damien Green, will be questioned at the next session where some of these questions should be answered.”
To read the full transcript of the committee session, click here.