Mr Green responded to arguments over long delays and lengthy immigration queues at Heathrow Airport, which have been blamed on poor weather conditions, saying: “The UK Border Force will ensure that all immigration desks at Heathrow and other key ports and airports in the South East are fully staffed during peak periods over the summer.”
In an emergency statement to the House of Commons, Mr Green said the UK Border Force was ready for the upcoming busy period.
“A contingency force of appropriately trained staff will be sent to the border to provide extra help to ensure passengers are processed as quickly as possible. Border security is Britain’s first line of defence. It cannot and will not be compromised,” Mr Green said.
Both opposition politicians and Heathrow’s owner BAA have blamed the delays on a lack of resources and poor organisation.
Labour’s shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant said:“The Government is running out of alibis. Figures show the Government hasn’t given the Border Force enough resources to do the job properly and is displaying utter incompetence.”
The Immigration Services Union’s Lucy Moreton told the BBC: “It takes some time to move from terminal to terminal at Heathrow – it takes about 45 minutes to get to each side of the airport. So even then deployment isn’t going to be an instantaneous thing as Mr Green thinks it is.”