back to article Eurostar tunnels through UK border ring of steel

Cross-Channel train operator Eurostar says it will be unable to co-operate with plans to check everyone entering the UK against crime, terror and immigration watchlists, dealing a major blow to the government's £750m e-Borders programme. Giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee today, Eurostar customer services …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Here's an alternative

    Perhaps they should introduce the border controls HERE instead of requiring the train and ferry companies to do something illegal there.

    Oh, but then we'd have to build airport style immigration control at all ports and international stations, wouldn't we?

    I think e-Borders is a good idea in general, but trying to pass all the costs onto other folk in other countries is a bit shoddy. If we want to control immigration, we must be prepared to pay the costs ourselves.

  2. The Indomitable Gall

    So what he's saying is...

    So the advance passenger information scheme for flights going to the USA is illegal for flights departing from Paris and Brussels then? Interesting....

  3. david 63

    @AC 15:27 If you are doing the checks here... definition you are not doing them before people travel.

    Interesting times coming the beer and peanuts in the fun is about to start.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    This is yet more ludicrous legislation from the Government. The result of this will be that we need an API just to go to the Isle of Wight! It's one thing checking at borders to ensure that foreign nationals have the right paperwork etc but what this idea really amounts to is permission to travel for UK citizens. Just think - want to hop on a train to Paris immediately - sorry mate - need to give advanced notice. Want to go sailing out of UK waters..... please register at police or coast guard station. They can fuck off!

    There is an election coming - I do hope the New Labour politicians and Home Office apparatchicks amongs others read El Reg and get a sense of how their ideas piss people off.

  5. jimbobno1

    Politicians and Systems Design = Fail

    This is why systems design should never be left to politicians. Fair enough they may not have much of an idea about what limitations there might be in a particular IT system, but surely legal ramifications like this are their area of expertise. Perhaps they should just leave everything to the IT bods and let them get on with it, would probably result in a system that works and deals with all the constraints. Idiots the lot of them.

  6. Martin Lyne


    I'm all for transparency, but do you think, perhaps, it would have been a better idea not to actually TELL everyone you can't check for known terrorist types?

    The olympics being a "target rich" environment. At least the terrorists might have been put off trying to pass through checks, now they won't be worried at all..

  7. Anonymous Coward

    oh noes the world is ending

    The US and Australia seem to be able to sort out permission to travel schemes quite happily without any problem. They do this to ensure that undesirables are not allowed to board the plane and they don't end up with them standing at the airport demanding asylum.

    You don't have to demand anything from a traveler, you just ask. It's entirely voluntary but if they refuse then we just refuse to let them into the UK.

  8. damon Reynolds

    @AC 15.27

    We do have border controls both here and in Paris for Eurostar. e-Borders has nothing to do with immigration control. you still need a passport, it's still checked and if it's not EU you still need relevant visas etc. e-Borders is exactly as @AC 15.49 says: signing in and out of the country.

    Up until now though if i had a ticket - any ticket - and a passport i was free to travel. now my ticket has to match my passport, ie the state can monitor my movements. this is very bad thing. and the whole 'nothing to hide nothing to fear" drivel doesn't apply in this case either. I'm sure most people couldn't care that through passport records, the state knows where they are. this is about another layer of pointless bureaucracy for marginal benefit, if any, that will inconvenience a large number of people.

  9. davenewman

    Checkpoints on the Irish border by 2014?

    So if they want to check all border crossings by 2014, what are they going to do about farmers that walk across the Irish border?

  10. RW

    @ AC 15:49 GMT

    I'd be careful with that kind of anti-social invective, citizen. I'm quite sure our friends in the Home Office already have plans afoot for rehabilitation camps where such erroneous thinking will be gently corrected. You will experience joy and happiness as the muddy water of your mind is rendered crystal clear, but beware the bill you receive afterwards for "attitudinal re-adjustment".

  11. Dibbles

    Yay - sense at last!

    I for one will be looking to take the train where possible from now on, as frankly the 'requirement' from dodgy airlines like Sleazyjet and Ryanair that you give them passport information etc is getting right on my wick.

    Shame it's taking companies to stand up for our basic right to free travel within Europe without scrutiny every step of the way, though.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm with Ernest Bevin on this

    reported in the torygraph ( as saying the principle of his foreign policy was "to be able to take a ticket at Victoria Station and go anywhere I damn well please"

    Note for the young: one departed from Victoria Station for the channel ports and onward to the Continent.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    I don't know why...

    ... they're enforcing all this crap... The real terrorists are already here!

  14. xjy
    Paris Hilton

    Gimme gimme gimme

    I want Blunkett's dream to come true!

    An anonymous armoured goon armed with a semi-automatic carbine at every bus stop, n tube and train station in the country (and abroad wherever possible). Strip searches performed there by teams of half-a-dozen poor fuckers forced to take the job by unemployment (security - the new armed forces). Another goon on every bus and in every tube and train compartment. The joys of free travel in the Free World. Oh, I forgot to mention the need to carry your ID at all times and to report your journey in advance so you can receive your one-off visa - for a three-stop ride to the high street.

    Only then will I feel safe from all the baddies out to kill me and ship my inner organs to Iran for the Mullahs and their catamites, or to Afghanistan for Bin Ladin and his concubines.

    Join me everyone, and get stuck in for Peace and Freedom!

    (Paris cos she wants everyone to get stuck in, too...)

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Everyone in the UK

    is Guilty unless Proven Innocent.

  16. Matt West

    eBorders conclusions

    It would appear that the conclusion that can be drawn from this whole exercise is that we are not prepared as a nation to give up our freedom to travel as we please in order to clamp down on a few unauthorised travellers.

    The RYA are doing a somewhat lacklustre job of fighting the clampdown on small boats crossing the channel, perhaps because they're worried that the general public are behind the scheme. If Eurostar can get the Ferry operators to join them maybe the RYA and other groups will be encouraged to join the fight.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    At AC@15:27

    It's standard procedure for the wonderful Labour government to expect everything on a platter for nothing. I guess it comes from the Union mentality.

    Take ID cards - They want them, you'll pay for them. Biometric Passports - watch passport prices climb for some dodgy features that they want. More CCTV and other wonderful peeping Tom toys - straight from the loyal tax payer's account. Support the Eurozone, including all the lovely subsidies for Greek Tobacco farmers (while banning smoking in public places) - oh, that'll be the government stealing from your pocket. Bail out the banks - guess who paid for this one.

    Less popular stuff that they should be taking care of, like keeping the armed forces in decent kit? Nah, we'll cut that back to save cash. Policing - nah, we'll rig the law to keep lawyers (prospective MPs?) fat, but we won't have enough coppers or enough jails.

    And, of course, e-Borders - what most people refer to as looking after the borders properly - it's alright, we'll try and get Johnny Foreigner to sort it out at their end, then we don't have to spend any money.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    Board the windows.

    Leave the doors open.

    Introduce ID cards.

    Shaft the people who are living/working/visiting legally

    Make it impossible to visit UK legally.

    But leave the doors open.

    Mine's the one that's not here. Like me. Or am I not there?

  19. WhatWasThat?

    @oh noes the world is ending

    Actually, the US is far from streamlined in its airport tracking. But, we willingly gave up any pretense on right to travel nearly 10 years ago, now.

    With over 70% of commercial air travel within the US comprising of internal flights with _only_ US citizens, you can see why US Merikins missed the point of why mandatory checkpoints are _bad_. We eagerly scurry into them with our passports to get from Point A in the US to Point B... in the US?! Just give us a little scare and we will run to our master's formen and bend our backs willingly. Why can't the repressive Nanny State of Blighty get with the picture? It was because of that kind of control we seceded.

    We don't have to worry about asylum seekers, because who would want to be in a country that tracks its citizens more than the former USSR? Isn't this the kind of treatment that our parents feared from the "Commies"?!

    The Enemy(tm) is ourselves and the people we put in power over US. We have nothing to fear but the fear ... and the Enemy(tm).

    Joke icon... because I wish it was...

  20. Steven Jones


    Note that Ernest Bevin was expressing his view about being able to travel freely from Victoria Station - he said nothing about anybody being able to freely arrive at Victoria Station from anywhere else in the world.

    Of course there were all sorts of views from that time. Like the right of anybody from the old Empire (once converted into the Commonwealth) to have the right to live in the UK. Somewhat rapidly rescinded in the 1960s, when somebody realised that an island of 55 million couldn't really cope with a influx from an ex-Empire with a population approaching a billion.

    In other words, the past is a foreign country. They do things differently there, and if you try and apply the principles of Ernest Bevin to a world where the UK holds a very different place, then you are going to come mightily unstuck. In truth it held a very different place in 1951 - just not the one that Ernest Bevin understood. Anthony Eden found out what that place was just a very few years later...

    Oh yes - and for those who ask why the US don't have trouble requiring pre-flight checks in originating countries, it's quite simple. It's because they can. Grow up - the World just isn't fair. If it had been, George Bush would still have been propping up a bar somewhere in the last 8 years to the great advantage of the English language and most countries on the planet (especially his own).

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They let in 100,000's of unknown migrants with no way of checking their history / crimes / past. But will happily try and control the movements of UK citizens / EU citizens. Brilliant.

    Did anyone see that episode on TV a while back (one of the reality TV cop shows - could of been traffic cops... cant remember), where 2 coppers discovered 2 illegal immigrants walking down the side of a motorway? The cops called in after grabbing them, and was told it was "home-office" policy to give them a piece of paper with instructions to hand themselves in to government office (can't remember what the official name was) - with the address, and then let them go.

    Needless to say both illegals never showed up - and disappeared.

  22. Anton Ivanov

    re: Everyone in the UK

    Slightly wrong.

    Everyone passing border control is guilty until proven innocent. If the immigration officer decides not to let you in the country there is bugger all you can do. You are not entitled to sue them, you are not entitled to legal redress and not entitled to compensation either.

    That is the case in ANY country. Not just UK, Australia or USA. Nothing we can do about it.

    It all went apeshit 100 years ago when the Americans invented the idea of immigration controls and Visas (it is an American invention). Before that, the fact that your government entrusted you with a passport was sufficient for you to travel anywhere. Not everyone got a passport either because getting one costed the annual income from a small village in some countries.

  23. Mark 65 Silver badge

    @damon reynolds

    "Up until now though if i had a ticket - any ticket - and a passport i was free to travel. now my ticket has to match my passport, ie the state can monitor my movements. this is very bad thing. and the whole 'nothing to hide nothing to fear" drivel doesn't apply in this case either."

    Your ticket has had to match your passport in the case of a flight ticket for quite some time. I believe this is something that was enforced by the airlines. As for the state being able to monitor your movements - guess what? They already could, it's why your passport gets scanned. This is just a bit of tidying up. Don't think you're hard done by, in Australia the locals have to fill out landing cards too.

  24. John Stirling
    Big Brother

    I wonder

    whether once all our freedoms are gone whether we will *be* safer or *feel* safer.

    Neither I would imagine.

  25. night troll

    Yet another....

    ....well thought out plan from our ZaNu-Liebour gubmint.

    Why is it that a gov'ment with a high number of lawyers and barristers in can never get the legal bits right?

  26. andy 45
    Big Brother

    @Steven Jones

    Steven, I think you're being a little harsh on Mr Hohoho and maybe taking it alll a bit too seriously.

    Fantasy as it may be, it's still a romantic notion that one could buy a ticket at Victoria to anywhere in the world, and it does make me wonder why it can't be that simple sometimes.

    Maybe if we all had compulsory ID, we really could just jump on a ship or plane and the world would be our oyster (card).

  27. Tim Williams 2


    Correct me if i'm wrong, but you don't need a passport (though you do need photo ID for the ferry/plane) to go to the Irish republic and their are no land border controls between the republic and N. Ireland. Presumably the ferrys and planes going to/from Ireland are included in this scheme, but as a would be dodger I could fly to Dublin and the cross 'uncounted' into N. Ireland. Seems to me that either we need to give N. Ireland to the Republic and the re-impose full border controls or forget all of this nonsense and join the Schengen zone.

  28. JimC

    @night troll

    > Why is it that a gov'ment with a high number of lawyers and barristers

    > in can never get the legal bits right?

    Depends on your definition of right I guess. If it includes "maximise employment and income for barristers and lawyers at the expense of people with more productive jobs" then I reckon they are bang on...

  29. Phu

    Not lawful ?

    Since when did something being illegal stop the government ?

    Britain's entry into the EU is unlawful (Bill of Rights Act 1689: It shall be an offence to give control of the nation to a foreign power - Treason Felony Act 1848: It shall be a treasonable offence to allow a foreign entity to govern, control or instruct the United Kingdom).

    Immediate traffic fines are illegal (Bill of Rights Act 1689 again).

    Almost every law passed since 1910 is illegal, as the Parliament Act was passed without the consent of the people, an act that breaks the law on Royal Assent.

    If the government wants to break the law, it will do so. Fact.

    -- Richard

  30. Edwin

    Frequent traveller to the UK

    Why don't you Brits just give it up and join Schengen?

    De facto the added border controls only serve to keep twits like Geert Wilders out, but I'm sure you have worse over there as well.

    Imagine - being able to fly to and from the UK without queueing for hours at immigration. Mmmmmmmmmmmm

    (PS: while you're at it, adopt the euro)

  31. Rob

    @Phu (Richard)

    To be pedantic, The Road Traffic Act of 91 and 94 take precedence over the Bill of Rights. Under British law it is the later act that usually takes precedence. So by our standards perfectly lawful.

    But as you were saying they can change that when ever they like without consultation.

  32. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!

    Time to leave

    This country is fucked init.

  33. Blue eyed boy

    @Edwin (adopt the euro)

    We're not gonna drive on the right here either

  34. John Dougald McCallum
    Big Brother

    @ Phu aka Richard

    Immediate traffic fines are illegal (Bill of Rights Act 1689 again).

    Almost every law passed since 1910 is illegal, as the Parliament Act was passed without the consent of the people, an act that breaks the law on Royal Assent.

    Try that with the magestrate next timeyou are done for speeding or whatever and see how far it gets you.

  35. Cullen Newsom

    @AC 16:04

    "The US and Australia seem to be able to sort out permission to travel schemes quite happily without any problem."

    "quite happily" "without any problem"

    "quite happily" "without any problem"

    Quite happily, without any problem? No matter how many times I repeat it; I can't manage to associate it with any of the "Security Theater" that I've experienced.

    And how many times have the US' airlines been around to congress begging for money in the past eight years? How many "quite happy" TSA agents have you met? How long's it been since you were out the house?

  36. Michael 28

    Nowhere in this article ....

    ...has the word "schengen" been used. apart from "Frequent traveller to the UK"

    But then the Brits never really went along with the whole EU thang , which is why us Irish were so keen on it. (We learned our lesson after the Famine, the yanks got in early with the whole Boston tea party thing).

  37. Julian 1

    @ I Wonder by John Stirling

    I concurr. You've really hit the nail directly on the head.

    The answer is, of course, a very big no.

  38. Andy Bright

    @AC 16:04

    I don't mean to be flippant or facetious with this comment, it isn't a matter to joke about. But the events of 9/11 clearly show that the US is far from able to prevent undesirables from entering their country and a number of them were actually on the very watch lists that were supposed to stop them.

    The reality is despite all the expense and fuss, not a single useful thing has been done to improve security in the US and repeated internal tests have proven that this is the case.

    All the changes to visas and processing has achieved is raise the number of tourists that vow never to return to the US, which if you ask anyone other than a small number of xenophobes passing themselves off as politicians is actually a very bad thing for local economies.

  39. Francis Offord

    Rudder wagging the Frog (?)

    If, as you assert, David Plonker first mentioned this possibility back in 2004 and it was further mentioned in 2006 why was no comment made then by our loving neighbours out there in "Froggyland" at that time. I observe that no mention has been made by them of "THE AULD ALLIANCE" which has never been repealed and is, by their definition, also illegal today. Surely it is possible to allow them to have their own "boarder" controls (not a mistake). The disunited Kingdom which was envisaged should be re-instated and the financial control re-established where it belongs. Oh, and on this subject, the sub-prime minister should be returned "as damaged in transit and not wanted on voyage". My mention of tails and frogs might be contraversial but, I believe, in keeping with the attitude of our less than grateful allies across the channel. They shiould stick to making claims about Champagne (invented my the English) and to regional variations of wine, claiming to make Cheddar Cheese in Frogland how? Cheddar is in Somerset. And, the claim to produce Golden Delicious apples fail on both counts under the trades deicriptionc act as being neither Golden nor, by any stretch of the imagination, delicious.

  40. Michael 28

    @Rudder wagging the Frog (?)

    don't forget the English Sausage (aka Emulsified high-fat offal tube)

  41. Michael 28

    @tim williams 2

    I agree TOTALLY !!! Jeez...why aren't there more people like you around. If you proposed this to dublin, they'd be in like rats up a drainpipe, and probably take your arm off in the process.....

    They'd even give NI citizens permenant dual citizenship regardless..... but they probably would join schengen..Their excuse so far has been..."we have a a porous border with the UK , and they won't play ball....we're SO SORRY!!! (sarcasm)."

    Give 'em the tools to do the job, and they might sort things out.....but then, how much faith do you have in politicians these days?

    Most people in Ireland aren't happy bunnies these days. House repossessions food prices tax fuel duty paedophile priests bin tax ...... did someone mention the spanish inquisition ?

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