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Miss Widdecombe: The Minister has performed a jump from what happened when the appeal letter failed to be delivered for whatever reason and the arrival of the immigration officers on the doorstep. Will she comment on the letter that was written in July and on the telephone contacts that were made and witnessed from Mr. Gashi to the Home Office?

Angela Eagle: I shall be frank with the right hon. Lady. In my briefing for the debate, I have been given no knowledge of those contacts. I shall go back with the information that the right hon. Lady has given me tonight. I am sorry to give her such a disappointing reply, but I do not intend to freelance on the Floor of the House, unbriefed. The right hon. Lady has given me the details and I promise her that I shall go back and have the immigration and nationality directorate check its records for those contacts.

As I said, Mr. Gashi was picked up and detained at the port of Dover. Representations were received on 11 January from the right hon. Lady on behalf of Mr. Gashi. Those representations related to the fact that he was still awaiting the determination of his asylum

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appeal, and expressed concern over the conditions in which he was being detained. Assurances were given to the right hon. Lady that Mr. Gashi would not be removed until the issues relating to the serving of the determination had been resolved. As Mr. Gashi was liable to be removed from the United Kingdom, his detention was maintained.

The original and subsequent representations made by the right hon. Lady were responded to by my noble Friend Lord Rooker—I thank her for her comment on the usual graciousness with which he deals with such issues—in two letters dated 14 and 15 of February and by a telephone conversation between the right hon. Lady and my noble Friend on 14 February. Acting on the advice given by his officials, Lord Rooker confirmed that there was no legal basis for Mr. Gashi to remain in the United Kingdom, and that removal action would continue.

During his period of six weeks in detention prior to his removal, Mr. Gashi did not ask to see a copy of the determination of his appeal or seek the free legal advice

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that was available and signposted in the IS96R notice which is given to all detainees on arrival at removal centres. That notifies them of their bail rights and the available free legal advice and contains the relevant telephone contacts to access it. On 21 February Mr. Gashi was removed by plane from the United Kingdom.

We are considering the implications of the technical issue of non-receipt of the determination by Mr. Gashi, despite the fact that it was clearly delivered correctly by the Royal Mail to the last known address. The right hon. Lady may be pleased to know that the Home Office is piloting schemes involving the hand delivery of determinations by officers from the IND to appellants. Such a scheme would ensure that the problem experienced by Mr. Gashi will not be replicated for others. If the right hon. Lady wishes to discuss the implications after we have considered them, Lord Rooker would be happy to do so.

Question put and agreed to.

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