Hotter and hotter for the Attorney

by Carl Gardner on September 24, 2009

The latest development – the arrest of Baroness Scotland’s former housekeeper and her husband – means this story continues to roll. And if what Guido is reporting turns out to be true, surely her career must be over. If the husband isn’t a solicitor, that’s a bit embarrassing. But if the housekeeper says she never showed her passport to the Attorney, then one of them must be lying, and Baroness Scotland can’t, it seems, prove it’s not her. This must be pretty awful for her: everything she says may be true, and if she does lose her job for it, it’ll be the wrong issue – her taking an overnight allowance in spite of having a London residence is much the worse of the mistakes she’s made. But if that really is what the cleaner says, I doubt even Rasputin could survive it.

It’s doubtful she’ll even make it to Brighton for the Labour conference – and if she does, it may only be for a seaside weekend.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 botogol September 24, 2009 at 18:22

it’s pretty telling, isn’t it, that in all of her statements she refers only to having seen ‘documents’ – always unspecified. I wonder what she actually saw.

Her statement said

“The UK Border Agency is satisfied that […] I took the necessary steps to check the documents to ensure that Ms Tapui was entitled to work in the UK”

I wonder what documents they cd possibly have been, and why she hasn’t said..
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2 botogol September 24, 2009 at 18:34

now – here’s something else interesting. It seems to me that in her statment Baroness Scotland subtly misquotes the UKBA to her advantage.

The UKBA statement said:
“The UKBA is also satisfied that the employer took steps to check documents provided to her as proof of right to work in the UK”

Baroness Scotland said:
“The UK Border Agency is satisfied that I did not knowingly employ an illegal worker, that I took the necessary steps to check the documents to ensure that Ms Tapui was entitled to work in the UK”

See the difference. The UKBA carefully avoided saying that the documents checked actually established any right to work in the UK.

My guess is that the housekeeper provided some ‘documents’ that were genuine (BS checked) but DID NOT show any right to work. ie they were irrelevant documents.

Does Baroness Scotland’s statments constitute a lie in itself?
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3 Carl Gardner September 24, 2009 at 18:36

Ah – I hadn’t spotted that. It might make what the two are saying compatible. But any further focus on what documents she did see – perhaps it was a P45 from a government department she’d previously worked for, say, plus a Home Office letter, say – would be embarrassing in itself.

I can’t understand why she doesn’t insist on going.

4 Carl Gardner September 24, 2009 at 18:45

Our comments crossed I think. If anything she’s said unravels to any extent at all, or is shown as having been spin… well, I’m fed up of saying she needs to go. It’d have been better all round if she’d resigned already and avoided a lingering demise, which seems to be the alternative.

5 Amy Lyons September 24, 2009 at 22:06

The UK border agency framework for penalties is here:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/employersandsponsors/listemployerspenalties/publicationassessment/tablecivilpenalties.pdf?view=Binary

Assuming allowable reductions are given and assuming that the Baroness co-operated, as the agency accepts she did, then a first offence fine under the framework should only be £5,000 where there have been *no checks* : a first offence with co-operation and partial checks results in only a £2,500 fine under the framework (if the reduction in penalty is given in toto).

Of course one can’t be sure of all this; the fine would also fit with it being a second offence with partial checks, co-operation and self reporting of the worker; or it could just be that for reasons unknown the UKBA chose not to apply any reductions available under the framework giving credit for co-operation.

Still, few of those options reflect well on Baroness Scotland. She should go.

6 botogol September 24, 2009 at 22:59

so for first offence, normally,
partial checks = £2500
no checks at all = £5000
Interesting..

7 Carl Gardner September 24, 2009 at 23:56

I don’t think that contradicts her, actually: at para. 2.10 of the penalties code it says you only count as having done a “partial check” if you have copied at least one document where more than one should have been copied, or else copied them all but failed to recheck when leave to remain was up for renewal.

So no photocopies at all = “no checks”.

8 Stu Peters September 25, 2009 at 00:17

The Baroness, who has never held an elected position, was a Home Office Minister responsible for the passage of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 through Parliament. She made the decision to employ illegal immigrants.; clearly she feels that at least one of the laws that she assisted to come into being does not apply to her. She should go, forthwith.

9 botogol September 25, 2009 at 06:47

the UKBA may feel she did no checks of her right to work

In other words she was shown docs that did not establish a right to work (and may have inspected them — so what), but she did no checks at all on whether the housekeepr was legal.

10 Peter Hargreaves September 25, 2009 at 17:14

Does anyone seriously think that in a democractic society the Attorney-General should be in the House of Lords? How can elected MPs challenge this high official’s decisionin Parliament if the need arises? It is no use sending a monkey when you want the organ grinder!

11 barboy September 27, 2009 at 19:26

At the point that Max Clifford, sucking at the teat of chav celebrity, appears on the scene, one knows it is all getting rather silly. Whilst I can buy in to the ironies of her failing to comply with the legislation of her own government etc., her failure is hardly uncommon among employers and she has been sanctioned. That should be the end of it, unless she has lied etc., in which case, it is nothing to do with the law and everything to do with the scummy level at which politics is played out these days.

I, for one, don’t give a toss whether, in isolation, she stays or goes but, in a relative sense, there is something very wrong if she goes and others get to stay.

Patricia Scotland, working class, state educated, and external LLB to silk (proper silk) within barely twenty years. No mean achievement, and for anyone, let alone a black woman.

In contrast, Jack Straw, white, male, public school, Oxbridge, and mediocre junior lawyer who would never have been made a proper silk, allegedly commits fraud when claiming for expenses which he never borne. And what happens ? Nothing, zilch.

I cannot but help feel that Patricia Scotland just happens to make for a much safer target for the cowards to round upon.

12 gyges September 27, 2009 at 19:27

Swift u-turn saved Baroness Scotland.

Interesting note from the Sunday Times, “BARONESS SCOTLAND was saved from facing questions about her expenses last week by a swift government U-turn that at a stroke changed its policy on allowances.

There’s a lot more to the article … but surely she’s still liable?
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13 botogol September 27, 2009 at 20:27

She’s got herself in deeper and deeper – she’s now explicitly saying that she DID see a passport… but the cleaner apparently didn’t have one…

http://order-order.com/2009/09/27/ukba-want-to-know-the-truth-about-the-missing-passport/
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