IT'S ABOUT AS BAD AS A TRAFFIC FINE; Baroness on breaking illegal worker law..Byline: JASON Jason, in Greek mythology
Jason, in Greek mythology, son of Aeson. When Pelias usurped the throne of Iolcus and killed (or imprisoned) Aeson and most of his descendants, Jason was smuggled off to the centaur Chiron, who reared him secretly on Mt. Pelion. BEATTIE
BARONESS Scotland was fined pounds 5,000 yesterday for hiring an illegal worker - but joked that the offence was no worse than getting a parking ticket.
The unrepentant Attorney General, the UK's most senior law officer, dismissed it as a "technical error" and refused to resign.
But her career was left hanging by a thread after she laughed off the matter.
Gordon Brown ordered Lady Scotland to apologise but said "no further action" would be taken against her.
His refusal to sack the Cabinet minister was attacked by opposition MPs. They accused the Prime Minister of "dithering" and failing to show leadership.
Lady Scotland, 54, said she was "bitterly, bitterly" sorry for the oversight. She was fined pounds 5,000 by the UK Border Agency for failing to keep copies of her Tongan housekeeper Loloahi Tapui's right to work. Embarrassingly for the Attorney General, she was the Home Office minister who pushed the tough new laws New Laws: see Las Casas, Bartolomé de. through.
Lady Scotland said she accepted "absolutely" the decision of the Border Agency. But she added: "It's a civil penalty just as if you drive into the city and you don't pay a congestion charge. It's not a criminal offence. I made an administrative technical error, for which I am bitterly, bitterly sorry.
"It's a case of failing to photocopy the documents."
Aides of Mr Brown said he angrily told her: "You must apologise and apologise profusely pro·fuse
1. Plentiful; copious.
2. Giving or given freely and abundantly; extravagant: were profuse in their compliments. . Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: "We can't see how Baroness Scotland can credibly stay in her job. She was the Minister who steered this law through the Lords. There's no excuse."
Lin Homer, chief executive of the UK Border Agency, said the fine was half the pounds 10,000 maximum as Lady Scotland had "no history" of employing illegal immigrants.
Voice of the Mirror: Page 10
HIGH-FLIER MAKING HISTORY
1955 Patricia Janet Scotland is born in Dominica, the 10th of 12 children.
1958 Family moves to Walthamstow, East London.
1977 She is called to the Bar after studying law at the University of London For most practical purposes, ranging from admission of students to negotiating funding from the government, the 19 constituent colleges are treated as individual universities. Within the university federation they are known as Recognised Bodies .
1985 Marries Richard Mawhinney the brother of former Tory chairman Brian.
1991 She becomes the first black woman to be made Queen's Counsel.
1997 Made a peer by Tony Blair.
1999 Becomes the first black women to serve in Government when she is appointed junior Foreign Office minister.
2007 Makes history again as the first black Attorney General and the only woman to hold the post.
HISTORIC First black female Attorney General I MADE ERROR Smiling Baroness Scotland yesterday HOUSEKEEPER Illegal immigrant illegal immigrant n. an alien (non-citizen) who has entered the United States without government permission or stayed beyond the termination date of a visa. (See: alien) Loloahi Tapui, 27