Minister to clear up deportation backlog

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair has appointed a "returns envoy" - the Foreign Office minister Lord Triesman - in a drive to clear up the backlog of failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants who have not been deported before he has left office.

Lord Triesman will be visiting countries such as Algeria to try to increase the number of returned asylum seekers and migrants flouting immigration rules. Britain has signed memorandums of understanding with countries including Algeria about the safety of returnees. Civil liberties groups have warned that the documents will not protect returnees to countries where they face possible torture.

In his letter of appointment to Lord Triesman, Mr Blair said: "Government must be able to return people who have no right to be in the UK to their countries of origin and foreign governments must accept them."

The Tory immigration spokesman Damian Green said: "This is another admission of failure by the Home Office."