I've no regrets about speaking out says whistle blower

TORY leader Michael Howard has requested a meeting with the Sheffield civil servant who alleged that applications for UK residency by eastern Europeans had been secretly fast-tracked.

No date has been fixed for the meeting with whistleblower Steve Moxon but the 48-year-old told The Star he is willing to sit down face-to-face with the Conservative leader.

It underlines the political sensitivity of the issue, with little more than a year remaining until the expected date of the next General Election.

Mr Moxon was yesterday suspended from his Home Office job after he revealed his unit based in Pond Hill, Sheffield, had been told to waive key checks on applications from certain nationals of the 10 states due to join the European Union on May 1.

Bosses at the Immigration and Nationality Directorate immediately suspended him on full pay pending an investigation into the claims.

Mr Moxon, from Crooksmoor Road, Broomhill, alleged that he and his colleagues were told to fast-track applications under a scheme called the European Community Association Agreement.

Under the agreement, self-employed businessmen from the accession countries and two states due to join the EU in 2007 - Romania and Bulgaria - are permitted to come to Britain if they show they have money to invest and plans for a business.

But Mr Moxon claimed his unit was told they should grant a year's residency even if applicants could not provide the necessary documentation.

Now Mr Moxon is calling for the resignation of the Home Office minister Beverley Hughes

He told The Star: "I would like to see Beverley Hughes' resignation. I have been told not to contact any work colleagues. But I believe they all support me.

"When I first began work there I didn't think too much about the instructions I was given. But after a while I started feeling that it was not the type of thing that I should be doing."

Mr Moxon, who is unmarried, is a former activist for the Liberal Democrats and claims to have played a part in the backroom team for the election campaign of Hallam MP Richard Allan.

"I am not political and I don't really want to bring politics into this. But I would be willing to meet Michael Howard if he wants to talk."

He added he suspected a secret Home Office scheme, codenamed Brace, was designed to avert controversy over an expected influx of migrant workers by keeping the official number of incomers down.

Although he is facing the prospect of losing his job he is unrepentant.

He said: "I am not regretting my actions. I don't know what I will do if I lose my job - but I have absolutely no regrets at all about speaking out.

Immigration minister Beverley Hughes has denied that any special scheme had been authorised.