WATCH: Immigration minister Caroline Nokes humiliated in fiery committee clash
Immigration minister Caroline Nokes was left red-faced during a grilling by MPs after she got her facts wrong about a housing case.
Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, had tried to raise the case of a rodent-infested home which had been occupied by seven mothers with young children, but was shut down by Ms Nokes who complained that her department had been denied information about the case.
“We have asked for it, we have asked for it," the immigration minister said. "That is one of the challenges, that if information isn’t shared with us then it is very difficult for us to find the information if it isn’t given to us."
She added: “That information has been provided anonymously by NGOs, and telepathy is not my first skill. We have asked for it. We have asked for it."
But later in the stormy session Ms Nokes was left momentarily speechless after it was revealed that her department had already been provided with the information.
Ms Cooper said: “My office have been in touch with the [Housing] Inspectors office and have been told that the Home Office does indeed have the information and has been given the information about each of these cases, including the one involving the seven mothers and children. And in fact the inspectorate is happy to provide this information to the minister and to the senior officials again if they have somehow lost this information.
“So to be honest minister, you didn’t need telepathy, all you needed was a telephone in order to be able to ring up and find this information.
She added: “Might you not have wanted to make that call yourself rather than leaving it for us to do in this public way?”
After a long pause Ms Nokes added: “I think that is a conversation I need to have with my officials.”
It is the second time the pair have clashed in the past month.
Earlier this month the senior Labour MP summoned the minister to an urgent meeting of the committee to "clear up the confusion" after Ms Nokes u-turned on her claim that it would be "almost impossible for bosses" to tell whether EU citizens working for them have the right to be in the UK under a no-deal Brexit.
"We've got the clock ticking and there is only five month left," Ms Cooper said. "Surely, the Home Office has got a grip on these basic questions?"