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Home Office minister owned by own rules

Pardon me, ma'am, is this your petard?

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Home Office minister and Attorney General Baroness Scotland - the government's chief law officer and the woman who put in place rules making businesses take the blame for employing illegal immigrants - has been caught apparently employing, er, an illegal immigrant.

The Baroness has now terminated the employment of her housekeeper, originally from Tonga. The Home Office was unwilling to comment this morning but the rules, which she pushed through Parliament, seem quite clear.

This section of the BusinessLink website explains what excuses a person can use in order to avoid the £10,000 fine.

The site explains: "You are not expected to be an expert on forged documents. All you need to do is conduct simple - but careful - visual checks without the need for training or technological aids, to satisfy yourself that the document(s) presented are genuine." The site includes a link to two lists of appropriate documents.

You need to have not only seen documents, as Baroness Scotland claims, but also made either a photocopy or, if you're really up to date, scanned and saved them "on a non-rewritable disk, eg CD-R or DVD-R".

Simples, no?

We're quite sure Baroness Scotland will have followed these easy steps, just like she expects the rest of the country to do, and therefore will be able to clear up this misunderstanding no problem.

In more bad news for the Baroness, Gordon Brown's spokesman said last night that she had the prime minister's full confidence. This political kiss of death has previously been bestowed upon Jacqui Smith, Peter Hain and Hazel Blears. ®

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