The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been blamed for sabotaging a set of raids against illegal immigrants by passing intelligence about them to a left-wing campaign group.
Whitehall sources told the Daily Mail that a meticulously planned operation had been potentially ruined because the government agency had passed information to the Anti-Raids Network.
The list that was passed on by the HSE contained the names of companies that were suspected of using illegal labour. It is one of six agencies that is consulted before any raids take place and was therefore supplied the information in advance.
The Home Office had hoped to make two weeks of raids against small businesses that use illegal labour, but many of these companies may now have been warned that immigration officials are onto them. Last night the HSE declined to comment on the leaks, but insiders at the watchdog insisted there was “no indication that we are being pointed at”.
The Anti-Raids network says it has seen 225 pieces of intelligence about the operation against employers of illegal labour. It justified passing the information to the employers because it claimed the raids were “unfair” and “demonised migrant labour”.
Despite the leaks the Home Office is continuing with its blitz and arrested eight Indian nationals yesterday in Walsall, all of them are accused of visa offences. It is unclear whether more arrests would have been made had companies not been tipped off by the left-wing activists.
A source at the Home Office said: “It’s entirely possible a boss who uses illegal labour has told someone not to turn up for work because they’ve been given the heads-up that immigration officials will be pulling up in the driveway.”
The serious allegations of wrongdoing against the HSE will further add to concerns that the British civil service has been politicised. Traditionally staff within the public sector are expected to act neutrally, supporting the aims and objectives of the elected government but in recent year’s staff have increasingly fought from within to oppose reform.
The public sector is heavily trades union dominated and that link to the political left is often used against Conservative ministers.
The Anti Raids network describes itself as “a London-wide network of people resisting and challenging immigration checks and raids through principles of solidarity and mutual aid.”
“The network was set up by a number of London-based groups, including the Latin American Workers’ Association (LAWAS), No Borders London, South London Anti-Fascists, Precarious Workers Brigade, The Prisma, Stop Deportation, South London SolFed, People’s Republic of Southwark, as well as independent individuals – with and without papers.”