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Monday, June 14, 2004

Scotsman.com News - Latest News - 'Whistle-Blowing Diplomat Punished for Serving his Country'

Scotsman.com News - Latest News - 'Whistle-Blowing Diplomat Punished for Serving his Country'

'Whistle-Blowing Diplomat Punished for Serving his Country'

By Laura May, PA News


A British diplomat who exposed an immigration scandal that led to a minister’s resignation has been punished for doing his country a service, shadow home secretary David Davis said tonight.

James Cameron, a manager in the visa and consular section of the British Embassy in Romania, today faced a four-hour Foreign Office disciplinary hearing. He was withdrawn from his post and recalled to London during the internal investigations.

A Conservative Party statement tonight said Mr Cameron had been given a final warning, been blocked from promotion or pay increase for three years and had been removed from Bucharest.

The Foreign Office refused to confirm the outcome of today’s hearing but said Mr Cameron would have the right to appeal.

Mr Davis said: “He did his country a service and has been punished as a result.”

He added: “This just goes to show that under Labour, the heroic honourable people are punished and the guilty go free.

“If it wasn’t for this man, the failures in the immigration department would never have come to light. Instead we would have gone on accepting bogus students, dodgy businessmen and sham marriages.”

Mr Cameron was responsible for exposing abuses – including the issuing of a visa to a one-legged Romanian roof tiler – which led the then immigration minister Beverley Hughes to quit.

He was first suspended last March after emailing shadow home secretary David Davis about his concerns.

Mr Davis, speaking tonight to Richard Littlejohn on Sky, before he knew the outcome of Mr Cameron’s hearing, said it appeared that Mr Cameron had been the subject of a smear campaign by the Government and hoped that he would be cleared of wrongdoing.

He said: “I expect him to be exonerated and when he is the Government will have some questions to answer.”

“He put himself into the public eye. If you are on the take you don’t put yourself on offer. Secondly he had a positive vetting earlier this year and thirdly he is in a very small community of Brits out there and you would think they would know all this wouldn’t you.”

“All of these things have come out when he embarrassed the Government.

“This isn’t just a question of a junior minister going. This is a whole government’s moral standing. It is just the way they appear to attack these things and it is wrong.”

He added: “The charge he was facing today was the charge of telling me the truth. I think they are trying to penalise him for telling the truth.”

“The only man who has told the truth in this whole episode and he is the one getting the rush.”

Mr Cameron highlighted the fast-tracking of visa applications from Romania and Bulgaria without proper checks.

Beverley Hughes had originally denied that she had known of the concerns among officials.

But Ms Hughes was forced to quit after it emerged that she had been alerted to the problem by another minister.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “There was an internal Foreign and Commonwealth Office hearing today. We cannot comment on ongoing disciplinary issues.”

She said there were “two separate investigations” under way.

“One is the disclosure of information by James Cameron to David Davis MP,” she said.

“A separate investigation is on information which has emerged pointing to serious anomalies in the handling of some of the applications in Bucharest.”

Mr Cameron would have “the right to appeal against any disciplinary penalties imposed”, the spokeswoman said.

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