AN MP who warned the Home Office last year about the dangers that immigrant cocklers faced in Morecambe Bay was meeting Home Secretary David Blunkett today to discuss what action should be taken.
Local Labour MP Geraldine Smith told the Government last June that immigrant Chinese were being exploited by gangmasters to gather cockles in the dangerous sands.
The disclosure comes as a Buddhist memorial service was being held in Morecambe today for the 19 cocklers who lost their lives in the incoming tides last Thursday.
Police are also continuing their investigation into the deaths after releasing on bail five survivors of the tragedy, three men and two women, who were being questioned on suspicion of manslaughter.
The three men are now in the custody of the Immigration Service.
After Ms Smith's alert the Immigration Service blamed "resource issues" for refusing to send officials to help police crack down on the gangmasters - even though they may have committed offences under the Immigration Acts.
Ms Smith said the police were "horrified" at having to stand by, unable to interview many of the cocklers of Asian origin because there were no immigration officials present.