Caroline Nokes gets sarcastic at stormy select committee hearing
Watch: The minister’s ‘wrong and strong’ approach may have backfired.
When Caroline Nokes was grilled by the home affairs select committee this week, the immigration minister put in one of the more questionable performances of recent times.
Nokes was quizzed on the case of a rodent-infested home which had been occupied by seven mothers with young children seeking sanctuary in the UK.
A damning report which uncovered the appalling conditions was handed to the Home Office in July. Or was it? Nokes insisted that NGOs who passed information to the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration had refused to share information with her department.
“That information has been provided anonymously by NGOs, and telepathy is not my first skill,” she responded sarcastically to committee chair Yvette Cooper.
But later in the stormy session, the minister was left momentarily speechless when Cooper revealed that her department had already been provided with the information after all!
“My office have been in touch with the [Housing] Inspectors office and have been told that the Home Office does indeed have the information and has been given the information about each of these cases...
“So to be honest minister, you didn’t need telepathy, all you needed was a telephone in order to be able to ring up and find this information.”
Nokes then admitted that perhaps she needed to have “a conversation… with my officials”.
It is the second embarrassing select committee performance in recent weeks for Nokes, but it is not the most shameful episode in her career.
In 2010, Nokes hit the headlines when she was caught cheating on her husband with a “toyboy lover”. She reportedly sent Tory activist James Dinsdale a text from inside the chamber saying she was “bored to death” before taking a taxi to the four-star Kensington Close hotel a couple of miles away...