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The Independent Online
The Government last night fought off, by just 14 votes, a last- ditch Lords bid to give refugees three days' grace to claim asylum before losing their right to welfare benefits. Voting was 182 to 168, rejecting a move whose backers included the Labour peers' deputy leader, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Runcie, the ex- Chief Rabbi, Lord Jakobovits and the former Labour minister and SDP founder, Baroness Williams of Crosby (Lib Dem).

The vote upholds last week's Commons decision restoring ministers' original plans which require asylum seekers to state their aim upon entry to the country. Home Secretary Michael Howard's controversial Asylum and Immigration Bill, aimed at curbing bogus asylum-seekers, now goes for Royal Assent.