It’s scandalous

Updated 20 February 2024: The Government is really angry with Dave Neal for speaking out: BBC: Immigration watchdog sacked after critical news stories

Mr Neal, whose tenure was due to end on 21 March, told the Times on Tuesday that he had not made the decision to speak to the media “lightly”. He added: “But I’ve been forced into this because my reports aren’t being published.”

“I’ve spent all my working life protecting this country, I’ve identified a security failing and I’ve brought it back to the Home Office,” he is quoted as saying.

“There’s a strong public interest here and that’s why I’ve done what I’ve done. The border is there to keep us safe, it’s critical that there are clear auditable risk decisions made to protect every one of us in the country.”

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16 February 2024: Guardian: ‘Scandalous’ if UK watchdog role left empty when Rwanda plan starts, says inspector

Successor unlikely to be appointed for six months – covering period when PM hopes flights will take off

In a break with the treatment of his predecessors, David Neal has been told he will not serve a second term as chief inspector of borders and immigration. The Times reported that a successor was unlikely to be appointed for at least six months, covering the period when the prime minister has said he hopes the first flights carrying asylum seekers to Rwanda will take off.

“It’s scandalous that such a critical position at a time of such importance for the country is being left vacant, while the government is expected to implement one of the most controversial immigration policies of this era with the Rwanda policy,” Neal told the paper.

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Financial Times: UK has ‘no strategy’ for housing asylum seekers, says borders’ chief inspector

David Neal says government has obstructed oversight of immigration system

“They don’t identify the lessons, they don’t learn the lessons,” said Neal. “The Home Office doesn’t want to change.”

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