Smooth Criminal Michael Jackson
28 April 2012, 06:07
Immigration Minister Damian Green is to going to be questioned by MPs about chronic queues at Heathrow Airport amid concern they're doing "huge damage" to Britain's reputation just ahead of the Olympics.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, announced the move after reports of lengthy delays to get past passport control again on Thursday 26 April.
Alastair Campbell, the former Downing Street communications chief who was caught up in the queues, tweeted: "If this is what Heathrow T5 border queue is like on an average Thursday, Olympic athletes should think about coming soon."
There were further queues on the evening of Friday 27 April.
Mr Vaz told London's Evening Standard newspaper that the issue was of "great concern" and needed to be addressed irrespective of the Olympics.
"Huge damage is done to our country's reputation," he said.
"The Government has a choice either to increase the number of staff at the airports or to restart the suspension of the checks.
"This needs to be done irrespective of the Olympics. This is not an Olympics issue.
"It is about ensuring that Heathrow is a world-class airport every day of the year."
A Border Force spokesman said: "We will not compromise border security but we always aim to keep disruption to a minimum by using our staff flexibly to meet demand."