Browne steps into Hughes’s shoes

Former Department for Work and Pensions minister Des Browne has
been appointed as minister for citizenship and immigration
following Beverley Hughes’s resignation last week over the
immigration controls fiasco.

Hughes resigned after admitting that she “may have given a
misleading impression” when she said she had not been informed of
any concerns from Romania and Bulgaria about the operation of
immigration clearance controls.

Earlier, the former Home Office junior minister Bob Ainsworth said
that he had informed Hughes about the concerns raised.

A government inquiry the day after Hughes’s interviews revealed
that Ainsworth had written to Hughes about his concerns a year ago.
In a statement to the House of Commons, Hughes said it was only at
this point that she realised that this letter was what Ainsworth
was referring to.

Hughes told the House of Commons: “I have always said that in my
political and personal life nothing is more important than my
integrity and, although Idid not intentionally mislead anyone, I
have decided that I cannot in conscience continue to serve as
immigration minister.”

Meanwhile, home secretary David Blunkett has denied suggestions
that immigration be removed from the Home Office and placed within
a new “crisis management” unit. The idea is believed to be gaining
ground among back benchers, who claim the Home Office is

l See Sheila Gunn, page 26

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