Home Office rejects claims security checks missed on ‘high-risk’ flights

The Home Office “categorically rejects” claims that hundreds of high-risk flights landed in the UK without security checks, according to an immigration minister.

Tom Pursglove disputed warnings made by chief inspector of borders and immigration David Neal, who the Daily Mail reported had received Home Office data showing UK Border Force failed to check the occupants of hundreds of private jets arriving at London City airport.

Responding to an urgent question from Labour in the Commons on Tuesday, Mr Pursglove, who is the Home Office’s minister for legal migration, said: “When it comes to the questions that she raises around these flights at London City airport and the information that has been put in the public domain, the Home Office categorically rejects these claims by David Neal.”

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
Chief inspector of borders and immigration David Neal raised concerns which have been rejected by the Home Office (ICIBI Corporate Services/PA)

Mr Pursglove insisted Border Force performed “checks on 100% of scheduled passengers arriving in the UK and risk-based intelligence-led checks on general aviation”, adding: “It’s deeply disturbing that information which has no basis in fact was leaked by the independent chief inspector to a national newspaper before the Home Office had the chance to respond.

“We are urgently investigating this breach of confidential information in full in the normal way.”

Mr Pursglove also told MPs: “The security of the UK border is a top priority for me, for the Home Secretary and for the Home Office. Everything we do in this area is designed to reduce risks to this country and its citizens.”

The Home Office’s “priority is to deliver a safe and secure border, and we will never compromise on this”, he added.

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