Abu Qatada's family leave UK for Jordan

The wife and five children of the deported firebrand Muslim cleric Abu Qatada left the UK tonight after dropping their application to remain in the country.

They will join the radical preacher in Jordan where Abu Qatada was deported in July after the Government won a decade-long legal tussle to have him sent back to his home country on condition that evidence gathered through torture would not be used against him.

The Home Office said that the cleric's family had abandoned their bid to stay in Britain and had left the country. It is understood his family had boarded a flight to the Jordanian capital Amman.

The 53-year-old preacher, who is being kept in a Jordanian high-security jail, will be retried on terrorism charges. He was first arrested in the UK in 2002 over alleged crimes in Jordan and fought extradition in the UK since 2005.

In 2001 he was questioned by police over alleged links to a German terror cell. Arrested and detained a year later after going on the run, he was never charged. Attempts to extradite him met fierce resistance in the European Court of Human Rights.