Page last updated at 14:58 GMT, Monday, 21 May 2012 15:58 UK

May dismisses call to 'get a grip' on immigration

Home Secretary Theresa May has rejected a call from her Labour counterpart to "get a grip" on immigration policy.

At Home Office questions on 21 May 2012, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper complained that border controls had been "downgraded hundreds of times".

Checks for guns and drugs had been "stopped", and "hundreds" of staff had been cut "and then at the last minute re-recruited", she alleged.

"The borders inspector has said that the number of people absconding at border control, slipping through without permission, escaping from detention, or disappearing from temporary admission has more than doubled since the election and the number who are later caught has fallen," she told MPs.

"This is another example of failing border control and weaker action on illegal immigration on her watch."

But Mrs May hit back: "We take the issue of security at the border extremely seriously."

The current "sadly poor situation" had "developed over a number of years under the last Labour government", the home secretary said.

"We are putting forward a policy that will see the number of people coming into this country reducing," she added.

Other questioners focused on police administration, the non-EU work migrants cap and alcohol-related anti-social behaviour.

Home Office: Government and opposition

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