HL Deb 30 June 2004 vol 663 cc30-1WA

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will ensure that persons claiming to be supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are correctly assessed; and that any person who has falsely made a claim to be a member or supporter of the MDC is returned to Zimbabwe. [HL3342]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: All asylum seekers are rigorously screened to test the credibility of their claimed identity, nationality and travel route to the United Kingdom. If a Zimbabwean applicant claimed to be a member or supporter of the MDC, in the substantive asylum interview the caseworker would address the credibility of the applicant's account, and any documentation produced, by testing their knowledge of the MDC, their commitment to the party, the nature and extent of alleged persecution, and whether the applicant could produce corroborative evidence to support their claim. Whilst there may be similarities between claims, each one is different and the line of questioning will reflect the individual nature of the claim.

The current policy of not generally enforcing the return of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe makes provision to enforce the return of those whose presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good.