Council still unclear on duty to islanders

West Sussex Council is seeking further clarification from the
government over the money it has spent supporting a group of people
from the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia.

The council has already written several letters to government
departments about the £500,000 it was forced to spend
supporting about 70 Diego Garcians who arrived at Gatwick Airport
in 2003.

In a letter to Crawley MP Laura Moffatt, Tony Blair said the
islanders could work in the UK so the council was not obliged to
support them (news, 5 August, page 13).

But a West Sussex spokesperson said the council was unsure whether
the prime minister had the full information on the case, as his
advice conflicted with a High Court order for the council to pay
for the group pending the result of a judicial review that was
later abandoned.

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