Former Baroness housekeeper consults Max Clifford

Author: By Chris Greenwood and Laura May, Press Association

Tongan Loloahi Tapui, 27, was arrested by UK Border Agency officers in
Chiswick, south west London, on Wednesday.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said she was questioned over alleged
immigration offences and released on bail until October.

Officials also arrested Serbian-born solicitor Alexander Zivancevic, 40, a man
she claims is her husband.

Mr Clifford said the couple had turned to him for help after unflattering
media reports about their marriage.

He said: “They have been together for years, they were living together for
years before they married and they go to the same church.”

“So far no-one has heard their version of events.”

He said he would be speaking to them to decide the next steps to take.

Earlier this week, Lady Scotland was fined £5,000 for employing a housekeeper
with no right to work in the UK.

She has held on to her job despite the protest resignation of her
parliamentary private secretary, Stephen Hesford, MP for Wirral West.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has offered her strong support, stressing that she
had acted “in good faith”.

He said: “She has paid the fine and apologised unreservedly. I have told her
of my feelings about what has happened, but I have got to ask if someone
should lose their job for failure to keep a copy of documentation.”

The UK Border Agency launched a probe after it emerged that a Tongan citizen
paid by Lady Scotland to look after her west London home had overstayed her
student visa by several years.

The Guido Fawkes political gossip website suggested that Ms Tapui would claim
she did not produce her Tongan passport, despite the inquiry finding that
the peer had not “knowingly” employed an illegal worker and “took steps” to
check her documents.

However, Lady Scotland was fined £5,000 for not keeping copies of those
documents.

Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said the investigation should be reopened
if Ms Tapui produced evidence to challenge the peer’s claim to have made
thorough checks.

He told the Daily Mail: “I have always said that for this investigation to be
credible it has to be handled in exactly the same way as it would be for any
other employer.

“It does seem to me that there is a big question mark about how the Home
Office can have concluded matters without having spoken to the housekeeper
herself. Now that she has been arrested she has to be questioned about all
relevant matters, including exactly which documents she provided for
Baroness Scotland.”

The incident was particularly embarrassing because, as a Home Office minister,
Lady Scotland had helped guide the immigration law through Parliament.

She also inflamed the row by comparing her error with forgetting to pay the
Congestion Charge in London.

She told Sky News: “It’s like driving into the City and not paying the
Congestion Charge. It’s not a criminal offence.”

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “We can confirm that a woman and a man were
arrested and questioned by UK Border Agency officers on September 23 for
immigration offences in relation to an ongoing investigation.”

A statement from the Attorney General issued on Tuesday said: “I fully accept
the findings of the UK Border Agency, that I made a technical breach of the
rules and I apologise for having made this inadvertent error.

“Having examined the documents which I was shown, I accept entirely that I
should have taken copies of them and retained those copies and I accept it
is my duty to pay the fine and I have done so.

“The UK Border Agency is satisfied that I did not knowingly employ an illegal
worker, that I took the necessary steps to check the documents to ensure
that Ms Tapui was entitled to work in the UK. I paid her tax and national
insurance.

“Once again, I sincerely apologise for my error.”

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