Dame Disaster honoured

As chief executive of Birmingham City Council from 2002-05, where she earned £175,000 a year, Miss Homer was caught up in a postal votes scandal that ended up before the courts.

Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey said fraud in the city ‘would have disgraced a banana republic’ and said Miss Homer, acting as the city’s returning officer, had ‘thrown the rule book out of the window’.

He said her decision to allow postal ballot papers to be transported to the count in shopping bags as ‘the direst folly’.

– In 2005 she was appointed to run the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, part of the Home Office, on £200,000 a year.

She inherited a department which was already in chaos, with asylum claims piling up, but on her watch the following year it emerged 1,000 foreign criminals had been mistakenly released, costing then home secretary Charles Clarke his job.

His successor, John Reid, declared the immigration system ‘not fit for purpose’. The same year it emerged 450,000 asylum cases had not been dealt with but left in boxes at the Home Office.

– From the ruins of IND, Miss Homer designed, and became the boss of, the UK Border Agency, and is now earning £208,000 a year. Her tenure at UKBA was marked by a string of bad news stories and highly critical reports by MPs.

More than 100,000 of the 400,000 asylum seekers found in the backlog were allowed to stay – in what MPs said amounted to an ‘amnesty’. Around 400 of the 1,000 foreign criminals were also told they could remain in Britain and dozens remained untraced.