Brodie Clark, the UK Border Force official who resigned following revelations that passports weren't checked properly at UK ports and airports over the summer, has denied he is a "rogue officer".
Facing MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee, he said: "Nothing could be further from the truth".
Clark has been called to give his side of the story which has brought immense pressure on the home secretary Theresa May, who insists that UK Border officials relaxed the checking of passports far beyond the terms agreed by ministers, as part of a pilot scheme introduced earlier this year.
The Home Office says that while ministers agreed to a limited relaxation of passport checks for some passengers, officials then went much further than agreed, and ignored a veto by the Home Secretary on whether the pilot scheme should be extended.
Clark was suspended two weeks ago in connection with the revelations.
He then resigned a few days later, and in his resignation statement suggested he'd been made into a political scapegoat.
Clark's evidence on Tuesday morning contradicted the home secretary's account - and he called May a liar in all but name.
15/11/2011 14:18 GMT
So what do we know?
Well it's May's word against Clarke's for now. Pressure is likely to build on the government to disclose the emails and other documents which led to Brodie Clark's resignation, something it appears reluctant to do.
What's clear is that Brodie Clark, a prominent lifelong civil servant, is questioning the Home Secretary's integrity and competence.
For the Home Affairs committee, the challenge will be to get to the documents that prove or disprove what Clark has told them today. They seem determined to do this.
15/11/2011 13:39 GMT
What can be disclosed?
Minutes of meeting with Brodie Clark appear to be unavailable to the committee, as well as Brodie Clark's 'admission' email. They are going to an internal investigation by John Vine.
The committee seems unlikely to take this lying down. Nor will Labour.
15/11/2011 13:37 GMT
The UK Border Force operations manual has vanished.....
...from the UKBA's website
Tory MP Mark Reckless wants to know why. Rob Whiteman didn't even know it had happened.
15/11/2011 13:36 GMT
And from William Hill
THERESA MAY has been slashed from 9/4 to 6/4 by William Hill to cease to be Home Secretary by the end of the year – and she has also been cut from 3/1 to 6/4 favourite to be the next Minister to leave the Cabinet. ‘Ms May’s long term prospects have not been helped at all by Brodie Clark’s comments today’ said Hill’s spokesman Graham Sharpe.
Meanwhile, Hills have opened a market on who will succeed Theresa May as Home Secretary and have installed Michael Gove as 6/4 favourite.
15/11/2011 13:34 GMT
Labour are continuing to put the boot in. Yvette Cooper just released this statement:
“At the same time as the Government admits it is so out of touch that Ministers don't know what is happening on our borders, we now learn the Home Office is publishing misleading statistics to keep the voters in the dark too.
“There needs to be an urgent investigation by the Cabinet Secretary into whether there has been a breach of the Ministerial Code by either Damian Green or Theresa May.
“Sir Michael’s letter is incredibly serious and brings into question the ‘highly selective’ use of statistics by Ministers. He says the fact and manner of the release ‘was irregular and inconsistent with the statutory Code of Practice and also with the Ministerial Code.’
“As he says in his letter, Ministers should 'bring forward publication of the official statistics to the earliest date possible'. We think the Government should publish its evaluation of the so-called 'pilot' now, so the public and Parliament can judge what the Home Secretary has done.
“While Ministers continue to obfuscate, real damage is being done to public confidence in what the Government is saying.”
15/11/2011 13:32 GMT
Whiteman: I discussed, not suggested retirement
Rob Whiteman very, very fuzzy on the details here. He says be didn't suggest Clark retire, but that it was discussed, but that Clarke didn't suggest retirement either.
Whiteman seems either unable or unwilling to outline exactly how these discussions panned out and MPs have given up asking.
15/11/2011 13:28 GMT
Whiteman: "Suspension is a neutral act"
" I did not suspend him lightly, but it was absolutely clear to me that ministers wanted fingerprint checks to be taken, and that had not been put into effect."
15/11/2011 13:19 GMT
My very clear recollection was that I did not suggest Brodie Clark retire, I only offered it to him.
When challenged with Clark's comments that Whiteman offered the retirement, Whiteman says: "That is not my recollection."
15/11/2011 13:16 GMT
@ GuidoFawkes :
May Day: No let up for Theresa May. Brodie Clark helpfully bought a big bucket and a hand-held fan to his appear... http://t.co/4VpXQzGQ
15/11/2011 13:11 GMT
Whiteman: Clarke's retirement package 'not formal'
Whiteman says after discussions with home office HR people, they decided not to offer the package after all. This apparently was vetoed by the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office.
Keith Vaz: Is that normal, for the most senior civil servant to veto like this?
Whiteman: It is.