Brooke rejects Asylum Bill

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Indy Politics
JOHN RENTOUL

Political Correspondent

Tory former Cabinet Minister Peter Brooke last night refused to back Government proposals to strip benefits from 13,000 asylum seekers. Mr Brooke is the most senior Tory to oppose the Government on the Asylum Bill.

His comments came after the Government had backed down over a key clause of the bill, under which Mohamed al-Masari would have been sent back to Yemen, from where he arrived in Britain, and would have had to appeal against the refusal of asylum from there.

But the British adjudicator in Mr Masari's case ruled that his removal to Yemen would be "unsafe", according to Doug Henderson, Labour's home affairs spokesman.

The adjudicator accepted that the Yemeni authorities could have removed him to Saudi Arabia, where he feared persecution.

Earlier this month the Government said it would send Mr Masari to the Caribbean in order to maintain good relations with Saudi Arabia, an important arms export market.

Despite Mr Brooke's abstention, the Government won by 279 to 264, giving the Government a majority of 15.

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