UK borders are safe in the hands of the British Army, the Defence Secretary said today.
Ben Wallace spoke out as he attended Manchester Airport to witness the job soldiers were doing in the place of striking Border Staff workers.
Rejecting claims the country’s borders are less secure when they're being manned by members of the armed forces he said: “The claim is just pure propaganda put out by the unions. That's not the case. I witnessed it today. And I am the former Security Minister so I know exactly how the borders work.
“So I think that's just using propaganda to try and muddy the waters. The simple reality is our borders are safe and secure.
“These individuals are members of the armed forces that come to help out when the strikes are on. They are coming out with a very straightforward function. And of course, they are backed up by computer systems and scans that allow us to identify people of worry coming into the country.”
Asked whether he felt the Armed Forces were more efficient than Border Force Staff he continued: “I've been here at Manchester Airport for over an hour and seen queues rapidly decrease.
“I think it's pretty efficient, especially here in terminal two of Manchester, which is a brand new facility.
“I think what it demonstrates is the Armed Forces are managing to substitute for striking workers on the point of entry into the UK. They're using technology to make sure that it is run efficiently and cleanly through the system and passengers are getting the service that they expect from Manchester Airport.
“I think overall, we're not seeing any disruption here to people's travel. I think that's a good thing. I think it also shows that ultimately, the government's responsibility is to secure the border, but also to make sure you people can come back and go about their business unhindered.”
Armed Forces have taken up Border Force roles as workers strike Peter Powell
Meanwhile Mr Wallace also said the UK's response to China opening up overseas travel is "under review".
He said: “The government is going to keep that under review and review whether different countries with COVID outbreaks etc should face different restrictions. As we speak the situation relating to China is being reviewed, and I'll expect to see some clarification on this point probably today or tomorrow.
“The Department of Transport will work out the balance between the medical advice that it receives, and indeed, the flow of traffic. I think it's very important at this time of year that we make sure those countries that don't have COVID can travel freely to the United Kingdom and vice versa.”
During an interview at Manchester Airport, Mr Wallace also praised the job of the Armed Forces who had stepped in for striking Border Force staff.
Ben Wallace attended Manchester Airport to witness the job soldiers were doing in the place of striking Border Staff workers Peter Powell