One of the functions that a government is supposed to do is defend its borders, sometimes there are treaties in place that allow free movement of goods, people and services within a certain set of countries such as the Schengen Zone within the EU, though in this instance it’s a loophole within the Schengen Zone which has cause a breach in our own borders where passports and othe border controls are not checked owing to a “loophole” in EU/UK law.
The Government alone is powerless to close a loophole which enables people to enter the UK illegally, the Immigration Minister admitted today.
Damian Green said the so-called “Lille loophole”, in which passengers miss key border checks by buying a train ticket from Brussels to Lille but then stay on until London, could only be closed through negotiations with European countries.
People can travel freely between Brussels and Lille as both Belgium and France are in the Schengen agreement, which allows them to cross the borders without passport checks.
But the UK Border Agency (UKBA) operates border controls in the country of departure, so by staying on the train from Lille, no passport checks are performed on the route into London, BBC Radio 4’s The Report found.
Mr Green told the programme: “It’s one of those things that the British Government can’t solve on its own… that has to be solved in negotiations and that’s what we’re now doing.”
He added: “There are strict British immigration controls in place in France and Belgium and we have UK Border Agency officers based at St Pancras to target those we believe are intent on entering Britain illegally.
“We are currently working closely with our Belgian counterparts and Eurostar to resolve this as quickly as possible.”
Jonathan Sedgwick, the former UKBA acting chief executive who is now the agency’s international group director, is expected to be questioned over the loophole when he appears before MPs on the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee today.
It comes after senior officials at the UK’s border force scrapped key checks against a Home Office database without ministerial approval, allowing an unknown number of suspected terrorists, criminals and illegal immigrants into the UK.
Border force staff have also been threatened with arrest by the Belgian police for trying to close the loophole, emails seen by The Report showed.
Apart from the Independent announcing to the world how to get into the UK undetected and in comfort (there are other methods I know) you have to wonder just what sort of incompetent allowed this loophole to exist and why wasn’t it closed earlier. An obvious solution would of course be to have a customs check at Ashford I or International or even having UKBA staff board the train when it leaves Lille. Why we need to negotiate is somewhat of a mystery to me as well. It would be simple enough not to allow the Lille trains access to this country unless the border checks have been made. Yes I know it’s not convenient for some, but that’s the way the UK is supposed to do things. We don’t (and should never) allow anyone into the country who does not belong here or has no reason to be here.
As for the British Government not being able to sort out on their own, actually they could, they just don’t have the political will too. Withdrawal from the EU would certainly fix it (and a good few other problems too) Instant removal (no appeal) of any illegals here would do the trick as well along with making an asylum claim impossible in this country (has to be done the British Embassy in say Moscow, Riyadh, or Pyongyang, certainly not in Croydon) No benefits for immigrants either unless they pay at least 10 years worth of tax at the level of average earnings for each member of their families. That way only those who really want to work will come here, same with health tourism, come here from abroad to have treatment, no fee no treatment, no exceptions save for emergency treatment for accidents.
In this our government has failed us and continues to fail us, which is why the UK is currently in a mess and people no longer really trust politicians.
Leaving the EU is but a start, hanging the traitors who got us into this mess must come a close second.