The Labour minister who first floated the idea of using dental checks on adult migrants suspected of posing as children is refusing to state his position on the matter now.
Liam Byrne was an immigration minister in Tony Blair’s government in 2007 when he warned that some adults may be sneaking into the children’s asylum system dishonestly.
Byrne revealed that the government was launching a consultation paper proposing the introduction of dental checks to determine the age of children.
At the time, Byrne said it was vital to guard the children’s asylum system from adult fraudsters.
He said: “If it is true that a dental x-ray is able to establish within a more precise range an individuals’ age than any other form of determination then I think we have really got to look very hard at that evidence. We cannot have adults in the children’s system. Adults in the children’s system, I believe, pose a serious threat to our obligation to protect children effectively.”
Fast forward the best part of a decade and Tory David T.C Davies has advocated exactly the same practical solution as Byrne, as Heat Street revealed yesterday.
Yet despite echoing the Labour MP, Davies has been held up by critics from all corners of the media and political spectrum as some kind of racist lunatic.
TV host Piers Morgan turned his fire on Davies this morning here:
Piers Morgan unprofessional overpaid gobby celeb pretending to be a serious interviewer. https://t.co/qDqbcsfCrE
— David Davies MP (@DavidTCDavies) October 19, 2016
The irony is that in 2016, Britain faces very different pressures from migrants compared to 2007 when Byrne was a minister.
When Heat Street rang Byrne this afternoon at his parliamentary office to ask what his view of carrying out dental checks on migrants is now, he refused to come to the telephone. He was in his office, though, because he could be heard telling his researcher that he didn’t want to speak to us.
He has been silent on the issue all day.
He should speak up now.