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23rd Nov 2018

Tory immigration minister merked in select committee over treatment of asylum seekers

Eat your supper Caroline Nokes, get it down

Oli Dugmore

Eat your supper Caroline Nokes, get it down

Conservative immigration minister Caroline Nokes was bodied in a parliamentary select committee on Thursday.

Nokes was facing questions from Yvette Cooper, whose surgical ferocity on the home affairs select committee toppled Amber Rudd as home secretary.

Cooper terrorised the minister after a question about the state of a rat-infested home lived in by seven mothers with young children. Nokes initially rebuffed Cooper, saying her department was not passed information about the case: “We have asked for it, we have asked for it. That is one of the challenges, that if information isn’t shared with us then it is very difficult for us to find the information if it isn’t given to us.

“That information has been provided anonymously by NGOs, and telepathy is not my first skill. We have asked for it. We have asked for it.”

However, Nokes was rendered silent later in the argumentative session when Cooper said Nokes’ department was actually in possession of the information: “My office have been in touch with the [Housing] Inspectors office and have been told that the Home Office does indeed have the information and has been given the information about each of these cases, including the one involving the seven mothers and children.

“And in fact the inspectorate is happy to provide this information to the minister and to the senior officials again if they have somehow lost this information.

“So to be honest minister, you didn’t need telepathy, all you needed was a telephone in order to be able to ring up and find this information.

“Might you not have wanted to make that call yourself rather than leaving it for us to do in this public way?”

Nokes replied, after a long pause: “I think that is a conversation I need to have with my officials.”