BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 10:52 GMT, Saturday, 1 May 2010 11:52 UK

Illegal immigrant worked on Hazel Blears' campaign

Hazel Blears
Hazel Blears said she informed the Borders Agency straight away

Former Cabinet minister Hazel Blears has confirmed that an illegal immigrant had been working as a volunteer on her election campaign.

The Sun newspaper reported that Nigerian national Rhoda Sulaimon was due for deportation after the general election, having overstayed her visa.

The Labour candidate for Salford said she told the unpaid worker to leave the campaign as soon as she found out.

Ms Blears said she informed the Borders Agency immediately.

Student visa

"I had absolutely no idea of this woman's immigration status until she informed me... yesterday afternoon.

"As soon as I was made aware, I took immediate action to instruct her to leave the campaign and I got in touch with the Borders Agency and told them about it," she said.

"Neither I nor any candidate from any other party would be in a position to vet the immigration status of the hundreds of people who come in through the door to offer to stuff envelopes or deliver leaflets.

"I had never met this person before she came in and offered to help. She was not a campaign worker, she was a volunteer and she was not paid."

Ms Sulaimon had overstayed a student visa issued five years ago, it was reported.

The candidates announced for Salford are:

Labour: Hazel Blears; Independent: Richard Carvath; Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition: David Henry; English Democrats: Stephen Morris; UK Independence Party: Duran O'Dwyer; Liberal Democrat: Norman Owen; Conservative: Mathew Sephton; British National Party: Tina Wingfield.

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