James Forsyth

Another Home Secretary on the rocks

Another Home Secretary on the rocks
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The storm that has broken around Jacqui Smith about illegal immigrants working in Whitehall is particularly dangerous for the government as it combines concerns over the loss of control over the borders with fears about security and the government’s reputation for honesty. If they don’t even know the immigration status of the person guarding Gordon Brown’s car then what hope is there that they know the status of anybody else?

The gap between the Home Secretary learning about the problem and it being revealed to the public is also a huge problem for the government as it dredges up memory of Home Office scandals past and allows its critics to suggest that spin was put before public safety. Dealing with this kind of problem, is an occupational hazard of being Home Secretary. We will soon find if Smith, the surprise big promotion of Brown’s first cabinet, is politically fit for purpose.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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