Hansard 20 Jan 2010 : Column 314
Philip Davies (Shipley) (Con): It is now three years since the Government signed the e-Borders contract, but as the Prime Minister admitted, the programme still does not allow us automatically to deny boarding to passengers who are deemed a security risk. Will the Prime Minister explain why we are still waiting for an authority-to-carry function in the e-Borders programme, when the Government originally promised that it would be in place by October 2008?
The Prime Minister: I read out the number of people who had been caught coming through our borders as a result of the success of the e-Borders system. The hon. Gentleman cannot claim that the system is a failure when large numbers of people have been prevented from entering this country, and when crimes have been detected as a result of what it is doing. I said that the targets we set for the e-Borders system would be completed by the end of 2010, and that is exactly where we are.
Mr. Gary Streeter (South-West Devon) (Con): On e-Borders, the Home Affairs Committee heard some impressive evidence quite recently that showed that introducing e-Borders in ferry ports attracted a number of fairly insurmountable practical and logistical problems. The Prime Minister now anticipates that the scheme will be in place by the end of the year. Has he overcome these practical problems-and if not, is there any point in closing the front door and leaving the back door open?
The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend the Minister for Borders and Immigration, who deals with these issues, says that coach operators are met regularly. We have dealt with the problems that they have raised as a result of the operation of the system, and these problems are perfectly capable of being worked out.
I listened to the Home Affairs Committee receive evidence from the ferry companies. The practical problems are not surmountable. Brown will have to see that for himself and not just accept it at face value from the UKBA. There are a lot of vested interests being defended e-Borders stakeholders.