Labour Peer Trapped by Her Own Law; ANALYSIS

Daily Mail (London), September 17, 2009 | Go to article overview

Labour Peer Trapped by Her Own Law; ANALYSIS


Byline: by Tim Shipman

THE Attorney General's employment of an illegal immigrant highlights the grave inadequacies of the system over which she has presided as a Home Office minister and Britain's top law officer.

When Lady Scotland helped push the 2006 Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill through the Lords, business leaders complained that it was unfair to punish companies which had unknowingly employed illegal workers.

Now she finds herself caught out by the same legislation that she helped pass into law.

For six months Baroness Scotland has employed a cleaner whose visa ran out five years ago.

In so doing she is potentially liable for a fine of up to [pounds sterling]10,000 under the terms of the 2006 Act, which prohibits the employment of 'an adult subject to immigration control' if their 'leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom is invalid' or 'has ceased to have effect'.

Loloahi Tapui has suggested that she was employed by the Attorney General's personal assistant but even that will not be a defence, since the law also covers 'a director, manager or secretary' working on behalf of an employer.

Advice from the UK Borders Agency website says employers have 'responsibilities to check the entitlement to work in the United Kingdom of their employees'.

The housekeeper has claimed that the Attorney General, or someone working for her, was paying her National Insurance.

But the Department of Work and Pensions makes clear that possession of a National Insurance number - genuine or otherwise - has never constituted proof of the right to work.

The department issued that statement last year when it emerged that hundreds of thousands of illegal workers have been handed National Insurance numbers. …

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