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Tories demand immigration investigation into Labour campaign guru

28 January 2014

Gurus are dangerous beasts in politics mainly because they tend to say awkward things (something Ed Miliband, who has Lord Glasman as his on-off guru, can attest to more than others). But the row over Arnie Graf’s immigration status, sparked by the Sun’s front page today, shows that gurus are dangerous in many, many ways. Like the Church of England discovering it was investing in Wonga while also crusading against it, it’s surprising that the Labour party didn’t think to make sure all was tickety-boo on the immigration status front before launching a tougher strategy in this area.

Still, it has given the Conservative attack machine something to do, with Priti Patel writing to the UK Border Agency to demand an investigation into whether Graf is working here illegally. You can read the full letter below:

David Wood
Director General of Immigration and Enforcement
UK Border Agency
2 Marsham Street

Dear David,

I am writing to ask the UK Border Agency to urgently investigate the case of Mr Arnie Graf, who I believe may be working in the UK illegally.

According to The Sun newspaper, Mr Graf advises the Labour Party on campaigning, and visits the UK on a business visa. Mr Graf is also quoted as saying that he works with Ed Miliband.

The Labour Party are on record as stating that they ‘reimburse him for lost earnings and expenses’. I believe that this reimbursement for lost earnings constitutes Mr Graf taking paid employment, and would ask that you investigate whether this breaches the terms of his visa.

Mr Graf has also appeared in a Labour Party video aimed at recruiting volunteers, I believe that this may constitute ‘producing goods or providing services…directly to members of the public’.

I am also concerned by the length of time that Mr Graf appears to have spent in the UK. It was reported in January 2011 that Mr Graf would be coming to the UK to advise Ed Miliband on the Labour Party’s structure. According to UKBA’s guidance, a business visitor must not visit for more than 6 months.

Given that he reportedly continues to advise and regularly meet Mr Miliband, I believe that this would breach the legal requirement that business visitors do not intend to ‘live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits’.

As you know, paying individuals to work in the UK who do not have the appropriate visa is a serious criminal offence. I understand that the individual involved would also be liable for deportation. I would therefore be very grateful if you could investigate this case as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely,

Priti Patel MP

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Show comments
  • MarcusPod

    Pft, deflection tactics. And I’d be very surprised if Priti Patel didn’t look the other way if Mr Graf were instead advising the Tory party.

    • Tim Reed

      …I bet the Labour party wouldn’t.

  • lgrundy

    The people who will decide whether this story has ‘wings’ or not will be the BBC News editors. Will they damage the Labour Party or will they sweep it under the carpet? Time will tell.

    • Tim Reed

      I think we already know the answer to that one – they’re too busy scrutinising UKIP cnadidates’ Twitter streams for ‘controversial’ opinions.

  • Peter Stroud

    Now, I ask you, in all honesty would an organisation, so efficient, slick and with such talented manager politicians, as the Labour Party, slip up and employ anyone with an incorrect visa? Neither Ed would allow such a thing.

  • HookesLaw

    Someone from overseas is advising labour on campaigning? This after all the moans about Crosby?
    And he is bringing ‘Chicago Politics’ to labour’s practices.

  • Frank

    A minor point, where is Arnie Graf flying in from?

    • Radford_NG

      According to the SUN he is a USA citizen.

      • Frank

        All we need now is to discover that Lord Rennard is actually a kiwi.

  • Border Boy

    Paragraph 46G of the Immigration Rules sets out the terms on which a person may enter the UK as a business visitor. Since it is fairly clear from the information provided that Mr Graf is in the paid employment of the Labour Party he does not qualify to enter as a business visitor as defined by para 46G.

    The interesting thing now will be how Labour respond. Will their public statement that he is being compensated for loss of earnings be withdrawn on the basis that they were mistaken? Or will they admit they fouled up? Amusing.

    • BarkingAtTreehuggers

      I hereby declare that in order to get over the double standards of saving on tax payments when remunerating my assistants, I have snorted some white powder to ease the pain of being in a moral cul-de-sac. Now, will I be spared filling in these rather tedious self-report offending forms?

      • Andy

        Was that with teh Rev. Flowers per chance ?

    • telemachus

      Suggest we start dredging up Patrick Mercer
      Or even begin obliquely referring to News from the Old Bailey

  • swatnan

    This is mischieve making of the lowest order by Patel. Arnie is a decent guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Whereas Priti is a UKIPPER masquerading as a Tory.
    Can we have an inquiry, please.

    • Tom M

      I think you misunderstand the term “illegal”. Whilst Ms Patel might well be mischief making either Mr Graf is here working illegally or not. Whether Ms Patel is a closet UKIP supporter or not has no bearing on whether Mr Graf is doing something illegally. And him being a “decent guy” is of absoutely no consequence whatsoever.

      • swatnan

        Arnie is here as a ‘visitor’ not as an immigrant wishing to remain here for a considerable length of time or permanently.
        There has obviously been some hitch over his papers. He doesn’t have a contract of employment as such, but is merely being compensated expenses wise, so its not actually pay or wages.
        He is here merel;y assisting Labour with its enquiries into how to get into better shape and rid us of this Tory led Govt.

        • Alexsandr

          he is working for a salary. He should have the appropriate visa.

        • Pip

          Lefties and Liberals usually attempt to justify the wrong doing of their ilk with bullshit, problem is it only works on other Leftards..

        • Tom M

          I made no mention of his immigration status. So if you can stick to the point under discussion.
          You write “There has obviously been some hitch over his papers.” Weasel words I think. That quote certainly sounds like some sort of admission that he might be doing something illegal, which of course was my original question.
          If you wish to discuss the present government and their future electoral chances then I’m happy to do so, but I would prefer to deal with one point at a time .

        • Andy

          What the Labour Party is doing is illegal. They should be prosecuted and Graf deported. The Law applies to the Labour Party just like everyone else.

    • Border Boy

      Should we admit persons seeking entry on the basis that a third party thinks they are a decent guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly? Or do we apply the Immigration Rules approved by Parliament? Not sure the “decent guy” test has legs.

      • swatnan

        I think it has 6 legs … more than enough.

    • Pip

      Whether he is decent or not is irrelevant, the question is whether or not he and the Labour Party are in fact breaking the law of the land, something I believe is of vital importance to the British People, especially as it is Labour who invited the vast majority of the millions of 3rd world non EU Immigrants to settle in the UK without permission from the people.

      • Border Boy

        If Mr Graf told the Border Force Officer on arrival that he was intending to visit the UK when it was his true intention to work, this would be a material lie making him an illegal entrant and he can be removed as such. Interestingly if it can be proved that his employer was complicit in this deception, the person concerned could be guilty of facilitation of illegal entry – maximum penalty 14 years in gaol.

    • First L

      Harold Shipman was a decent guy too.

  • Graeme S

    Isn’t it just amazing that someone called Priti Patel is investigating immigration status … fly in through Heathrow anytime and you,d be amazed your not on the sub-continent

    • Pip

      Indeed the irony is thought provoking to say the least.

      • HookesLaw

        What’s ironic is your bigoted friend is amazed at seeing foreigners at an airport.

    • HookesLaw

      Patel was born in London in 1972. More importantly she is a conservative.
      Thanks for exposing yourself as a bigot.

      • Graeme S

        It was Irony……….

        • First L

          It failed.

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