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Government to end child detention after Huppert's campaign

December 17, 2010 11:50 AM

Julian HuppertPressure from Cambridge MP Julian Huppert has led to the government promising an end to child detention by May next year.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, announced that by the first anniversary of the Coalition Agreement, not a single child will be detained for immigration purposes.

And immediately, the notorious Yarl's Wood family unit is to close. No child is currently in a detention centre, and none will be over Christmas.

The news comes after Julian pushed the government last summer to end the scandal of child detention.

He raised the controversial issue during Nick Clegg's first appearance at Prime Minister's Questions.

Today Julian said: "This is very welcome news. Today, we have taken a vitally important step towards putting an end to Labour's shameful legacy of child imprisonment. Now our nation can hold up its head.

"This is the best news this Christmas. Children will not be spending the festive season locked up in detention centres and we will start to rebuild an immigration system so that it can be more humane."

In Labour's last five years in office, the government locked up 7,075 children - an average of seven a day. Last year 1,065 children were locked up, 173 for more than a month.

"These figures brought shame on our nation," added Julian. "How could we call ourselves a civilised society when we were subjecting innocent children to this treatment?

"At last, children will be treated with the dignity they deserve and Britain can start to rebuild respect over this issue."