Ministers' shocking complacency on Heathrow borders chaos - Yvette Cooper

1 May 2012

Yvette CooperYvette Cooper MP, Labour's Shadow Home Secretary, said today on the queues at Heathrow:

"Home Office Ministers are showing a shocking level of complacency over the chaos at Heathrow border control.

"The Immigration Minister's claims that queues are under control are completely at odds with the experience of travellers over the past few weeks, as well as the evidence from airlines. Time and again we have heard from passengers queuing for hours while most of the immigration desks stood empty.

"It's time for the Home Office to publish their full figures on waiting times at every terminal at Heathrow and other airports, so they can be scrutinised by passengers and airlines to see if they match with public experience. If Ministers won't even admit to the scale of the problem, how on earth can they solve it?

"Last year Ministers licensed major security downgrades whilst claiming not to know what was going on. This year they don't seem to have a clue about the extent of the queues. At the same time, 1,500 Border Force staff are being cut. Home Office management of Britain's borders is drifting from one shambles to another. The Home Secretary needs to take charge of this chaos and get it sorted out.

"People want to know there are proper security checks in place with swift processes for travellers too. With new technology, the government should be aiming to strengthen border checks year on year whilst helping travellers get more swiftly to their destination. Leaving families to struggle with tired kids in long queues, or delaying business travellers because of poor management or the scale of cuts is unacceptable."