http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 961141.ece
From The Times
December 18, 2009
Government bows to EU, undermining £1.2bn electronic borders scheme
Richard Ford, Home Correspondent
Under the e-Borders rules airlines, ferries and rail companies had to collect the name of the carrier, departure and arrival points plus information held on a traveller’s passport.
This would enable the British authorities to check their details against the watchlists held by police and the security services.
During the negotiations with the Commission, the Home Office agreed that the collection of the information will now be voluntary.
A letter from the Commission to the Home Office also made clear that the Government had given an assurance that it would not bar EU citizens from entering the UK.
The letter said that passengers from the EU or members of their family would not be stopped from entering the UK if their personal details were not available to the British border authorities.
The concessions offered by the Government means that it can no longer insist on obtaining the details of passengers and crew in advance of people travelling to the UK.
Today’s disclosure of a government climbdown threatens to under mine the whole reason for the massive scheme which was to allow the authorities to have details of those entering the country which could be checked against watchlists.
The disclosure of Government concessions over the scheme emerged as the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee today was attacking ministers for pressing ahead with e-Borders without making sure it was legal.