Ministers in the Home Office are under new pressure – this time over allegations that they published “highly selective” statistics on drug seizures.
The chair of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir Michael Scholar, has written to Damian Green, the immigration minister. Sir Michael asked for reassurance that the Home Office did not deliberately publish a press release suggesting a rise in seizures of Class A drugs to enhance the reputation of the UK Border Agency.
The letter says: “It was, I understand, produced without any involvement by, and without the knowledge of, the Department’s statisticians; and it is highly selective in its choice of statistics, in order, it seems, to show the UK Border Agency in a good light.”
Sir Michael suggests that if this was the case it would be “highly corrosive and damaging to public confidence in national statistics”.
This is the latest headache for Theresa May, home secretary, given the recent furore over immigration checks. Right now Brodie Clark, former head of the UK Border Force (part of the agency) – who resigned over the controversy – is facing the Home Affairs Select Committe.
Here is the letter to Damian Green:
Dear Mr Green
I am writing to express concern about the Home Office press release issued on 4 November 2011, copy enclosed, which contained statistical information on the volume of seizures of Class A drugs by the UK Border Agency. This press release was embargoed until 7 November, three days