One of the moments I will never forget from the heartbreaking night of the 2011 Holyrood election was our Edinburgh Central candidate Alex Cole-Hamilton’s tweet:
Ending Labour’s horrendous policy, whereby children were locked up for indeterminate periods in horrible institutions like Yarl’s Wood and Dungavel, is one of the great things to come out of this coalition. Nobody’s saying the UK Border Agency is now perfect. Far from it. But on this, there can be no doubt that the Liberal Democrats ended an unacceptable, inhumane scandal.
Nick Clegg and Barbara Nalumu from Citizens UK, the organisation who came to Liberal Democrat Conference to thank us for ending child detention, have written an article in the Guardian on the subject, responding to criticism that child detention is still going on. They wrote:
Importantly, the new measures we have taken, such as the Independent Family Returns Panel, have ensured that the vast majority of children and families can stay in their communities before returning home.
Those who can’t are accommodated in the new “exceptional facility” – Cedars, which consists of nine self-contained, family-friendly apartments and is a world away from the infamous family unit at Yarl’s Wood (which was closed by the coalition government). Barnardo’s provides emotional support and educational play to help families and children understand the process they are going through. Cedars is required because there will always be exceptional cases in which families, who the law says should be returned home, need a decent stopping off point before they can board a plane. This is a necessary part of a civilised but effective immigration system.
You can read the whole article here.
* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings