It was meant to be a conciliatory dinner at an Indian restaurant at Bournemouth by one of the candidates after the UK Independence Party’s leadership contest was decided on Friday, but was hit by an immigration raid that saw one staff flee the scene.
Britain’s immigration officials often conduct such raids at Indian and other restaurants, which hire temporary staff who may or may not have permission to work. The raids have led to many arrests of illegal immigrants and fines of up to £10,000 per illegal worker hired.
Lisa Duffy, one of the candidates for the post of UKIP leader, was at the Indian Ocean restaurant with her 10-member team when the raid happened. Duffy has been campaigning hard for immigration controls.
Duffy told the Mirror: “It’s a bit ironic really. When we went in the immigration officers were there, then we were put to our table which was adjacent to the door." The immigration team reportedly told her they were making a spot check and came out of the kitchen with a man.
She said: “Then as somebody else came through the door, this particular gentleman who they had managed to flee away from them down the hill. They were walking with him and I think they were going to take him to their van but he managed to run away.
"We were the last people admitted in and then they stopped taking guests at one point because obviously they were then under a little bit of pressure being able to serve everybody. Then after that, once it was all over, they started admitting guests back into the restaurant.”
It could not immediately be ascertained if any arrests were made during the raid.
Indian restaurants have been under pressure to recruit chefs from the subcontinent due to tight immigration controls in recent years. Industry leaders claim many Indian restaurants have closed down due to the inability to recruit chefs with the rights skills.