Tories cut key clause in asylum Bill

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Indy Politics

Political Correspondent

The Government backed down yesterday over a key clause of its Asylum Bill, designed to make it harder for bogus refugees to enter Britain.

Labour claimed that Mohamed al-Masari, the Saudi dissident deported to the Caribbean island of Dominica, would probably have been sent back to Saudi Arabia if the clause of the proposed legislation had been in force at the time of his arrival.

Under the clause which the Government dropped yesterday, Dr 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 Dr 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 Dr Masari to the Caribbean in order to maintain good relations with Saudi Arabia, an important arms export market.