December 12th, 2004

John Gieve is Pivotal

The Sunday Times claims Mr Blunkett raised the issue of a visa for Leoncia Casalme, the nanny, at a meeting in May with civil servants on delays in dealing with applications. When they said the backlog was being cleared, Mr Blunkett “hit the roof”.

Quoting a mandarin: “Blunkett raised it by asking why there were all these delays. The answer came back that officials were working on the problem but that there weren’t really any delays. At this point Blunkett hit the roof and threw the letter at [John] Gieve [the Home Office’s permanent secretary] and said ‘What about this then?’

That would be the same John Gieve who appointed his old mate and ex-Treasury colleague Alan Budd to inquire into what happened.

Following the roof hitting meeting a call was made by a civil servant to the visa processing department in Croydon to get it “sorted” and once the file was found the visa was approved, a mere three days later.

UPDATE: My only caution on this story is that since if it is true, Blunkett will have to go, it may be being deliberately fed to the press, and actually be exaggerated and false. It may be being spun in an effort to save Blunkett. Since false accusations when refuted categorically and comprehensively tend to blunt the lesser and probably true allegations.

Blunkett sources are categorically denying it. Which is a bold and dangerously easily contradicted lie if it is indeed true.



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