This story is confusing me somewhat - Baroness Scotland employed an illegal, she did not take the necessary measures to ensure she was within the law, and was duly fined five grand
What I want to know is if Scotland had the relevant copies, would she be fined? From the BBC
It is understood that she had seen the woman's passport, a letter from the Home Office on her right to work, her P45, her National Insurance details, references and a marriage certificate.
Labour are in full-spin I see - so, had she photocopied these would she have been fined? Clearly they were somehow false, or weren't actually valid - and an employer is obliged to properly check these documents (photos, signatures etc)
So was she fined for not following protocol, or for actually hiring an illegal? Which the law says is an offence even if it is unwitting - these checks are supposed to prevent it from happening so surely the logical conclusion is that even these documents would not help her escape a fine - you are not fined for not having the relevant documents, i.e. if you hired me, although you are required to obtain these documents, you would not be fined by the Borders Agency as I'm a citizen - so unless she was well and truly tricked she is culpable?
Let's peruse the documents shall we -
1. Passport, presumably foreign (rather than forgery) as she had a letter about right to work, so not valid
2. Home Office letter - I have a right to work in Australia until next year, it has conditions on it, presumably hers said something along the lines of while engaging in studies (she had a student visa), hardly seems a good defence, unless the Home Office are that stupid (hmmm...)
3. P45 - proves nothing!
4. National Insurance - Not a proof of entitlement to work, as outlined in her own guidelines! NI numbers are given to people who have HAD a right to work here at some point, doesn't mean she still is entitled
5. References - same as p45, prove nothing
6. Marriage certificate - This, I think was the clincher - married to a British national, so she must be eligible - well not any more, thanks to marriage visas
I see nothing that would absolve the most powerful lawyer in the country from this
And you know what? - that is the whole point, I don't think I'd care if someone employed an illegal as a nanny, I'd even let Harman off for something this trivial - I have sympathy with Ms. Tapui's situation - she is actually eligible to work in Britain and is only 'illegal' through a technical measure, most people would deserve sympathy in this situation
But not the Attorney-General, who effectively created this law where ignorance is not a defence (standard common-law practice anyway) and must be seen to follow it - for a person in her position to commit this offence is a joke
I know it's a civil matter, not a criminal one, and I wouldn't call for the head of most ministers in this case, but because she basically made this law, she must go - this is not like forgetting to pay the congestion charge (her own comparison), or speeding - this is directly linked to her job and undermines her position as chief lawmaker
It is unfortunate, I admit, but she should be stepping down for the dignity of her role - she can't be seen as a hypocrite
And that was rather longer than I intended - what I meant to get into (rather than wittering on about this like everyone else) was the government:
Once again we have an unelected, unaccountable person refusing to leave, despite it being in the public interest - traditionally of course, a person in her position would never be elected, and rightly so - but this is just compounding the case against Labour - their refusal to act just further highlights their incredible amount of power that is based on people who are completely unelected
Normally we could pressure the elected government to push her out of this esteemed position - but we already have an unaccountable prime minister, propped up by an unaccountable and unelectable 'Lord' Mandelson and a cabinet made up of cronies from the Lords, further supported by other unelectable people like the Kinnocks in the Lords and EU
If ever there was a serious case against the appointment system we have, it is this - we have tolerated the Lords for a long time because they're actually quite handy, but the danger of having such a lot of power in unelected positions (compounded by the undemocratic EU) is quite evident now - and while we may hate elected politicians, we need to take the hit and stop governments relying on their mates who they have appointed for life, Labour would've been out if they had to rely solely on the Commons by now - something which all recent governments have done