Ten thousand passports handed out to bogus applicants, including alleged prominent Al Qaeda members. Dangerous foreign criminals on the run in Britain. A state of panic over asylum seekers.
Now two indiscreet management consultants travelling home on a train this week have spilled the beans about the dire financial state of Home Secretary John Reid's embattled government department. An alert citizen journalist from The-Latest overheard the pair, on a Sutton-bound train from London, Victoria, talk darkly that the Home Office is 'fifty million pounds' in the red.
And that this could be accounted for by the £60m spent on a special team whose job it is to round up failed asylum seekers. Chartered planes used in the clandestine operation were mentioned. The consultants said, intriguingly, that one of their successes was building better relations between the Home Office and the Department of Health …
They were keen to get an extra £50,000 from Comrade Reid to continue advising him until next month, when apparently their consultancy contract runs out. So, if Lord Turnbull, the former top Treasury civil servant is to be believed about Gordon Brown, it is not just the Chancellor who favours advice from dodgy private consultants over fellow Labour ministers.
The 'Trusted Borders' consortium, led by Raytheon and including Serco, was short-listed in Novemberfor the next phase of the UK Government's 'e-Borders programme' Home Office Minister Joan Ryan said: "This technology will help transform our immigration controls. E-Borders will play a vital part in safeguarding our borders - enabling us to track all those who enter and leave the UK while facilitating efficient and secure passage for legitimate travellers."