Ex-housekeeper says Scotland didn’t check passport – report

LONDON (Reuters) – An illegal immigrant employed as a housekeeper by the British government’s chief legal adviser said in a newspaper interview today that her employer had  failed to check her passport before she was hired. Tongan Loloahi Tapui, who gave an interview to the Mail on  Sunday after approaching a celebrity publicist to help sell her  story, said Attorney General Patricia Scotland had given her a  job after a 10-minute interview.

Scotland, who was fined 5,000 pounds on Tuesday for breaking  the law on employing illegal immigrants, denied Tapui’s claim  that she had not checked her passport and repeated her position  that she saw all the relevant documents. Scotland, who was a minister in the Home Office when laws were passed to impose fines of up to 10,000 pounds for bosses  who employ illegal workers, has already apologised.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, trailing in the polls before an  election due by June 2010, has backed Scotland and rejected  opposition calls to sack her.

In her first interview since the story broke, Tapui told the  newspaper: “She didn’t ask for a passport or a letter but she  has said she has seen a passport which I did not provide. “I will take a lie detector test if I have to, if she is  saying I provided a passport. I didn’t.”      The newspaper did not say whether it had paid Tapui for her  story, brokered by publicist Max Clifford.

Scotland, who sacked Tapui after it emerged she was in  Britain illegally, issued a statement rejecting her allegations.

“For the record, as I have said previously, I was shown all  relevant documents – a P45, National Insurance details, a  marriage certificate, a letter from the Home Office, references,  and a passport – by Ms Tapui during her job interviews,” it  said.

The opposition Conservative Party repeated its call for  Scotland to resign.

“This unedifying row just underlines why Baroness Scotland’s  position is now completely untenable,” Conservative home affairs  spokesman Chris Grayling said. “This is increasingly looking  like an attempted whitewash that has gone badly wrong.”

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