Mark Harper has resigned as immigration minister after it was discovered that his domestic cleaner was working in the UK illegally. It was uncovered that his cleaner was present in the UK for seven years without permission to work.
Whilst Prime Minister David Cameron reiterated that Mr Harper had no indication that he was employing an illegal migrant, he also stated that he accepted the resignation “with regret.”
Mark Harper, who is also MP for The Forest of Dean was behind the controversial campaign that put ‘go home’ adverts on vans to urge illegal immigrants to leave Britain. In addition he also spoke extensively about the importance of employers and landlords carrying out reasonable checks on workers” and tenants” right to remain in the UK.
In his letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Harper said he would continue in his role as MP but would resign as Immigration Minister. In the letter, Mr Harper stated that he had made right to work checks when he first employed the cleaner at his London flat in April 2007. He took a copy of her passport and a Home Office letter which stated she had the right to work in the UK at that time.
However, last month, after being unable to locate copies of these documents in his records, he explained how – aware of employers’ responsibilities under current legistation – he had asked his domestic for fresh copies of her passport and right to work documentation. It was then that it was discovered that she did not have indefinite leave to remain in the UK and that she had in fact had been living and working in the UK illegally. The matter has now been passed on to immigration enforcement.
Mr Harper commented ‘Although I complied with the law at all times, I consider that as Immigration minister, …….taking legislation through Parliament which will toughen up our immigration laws, I should hold myself to a higher standard than expected of others,’.
There was praise from across the political spectrum for Harper’s achievements and the swiftness of his resignation. Harper’s resignation was accepted just 24 hours after he discovered his cleaner was in the UK illegally. The Home Office Minister James Brokenshire has been promoted to Harper’s position.