Orkney and Shetland MP and Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael, has spoken out against Conservative plans to reintroduce child detention in its new migration bill. The Bill as currently drafted would reintroduce child detention after it was banned by the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government. The government rejected opposition attempts to remove child detention in votes last night.
Speaking in the debate yesterday evening Mr Carmichael said:
“Everything in this Bill is all about electioneering and politics; it has nothing to do with stopping the small boats coming across the channel, as we all want to do.
“When [Theresa May] brought the Modern Slavery Bill, I remember thinking that she was talking about people who were, for all intents and purposes, invisible among our community. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for her and others to ignore them and simply pass on, but she did not, and that was enormously to her credit. The legislation will push vulnerable victims of slavery back into the shadows and away from the protection that they most undoubtedly need and deserve.
“The points that I will focus on relate to the detention of children. The detention of children is something that I thought we had seen the back of. It was an absolute stain on our country that we kept children locked up in immigration removal centres such as Dungavel in Scotland.
“I remember visiting Dungavel—it must have been in 2007 or 2008. I also remember, I have to say, successive ministers in the then Labour Government saying that I was a bleeding-heart liberal, and that this was just something that we had to live with and nothing could be done.
“I think it tells us quite a lot about the journey that the Conservative party has been on since those years in 2011 and 2012 that the Government feel it necessary to reintroduce detention for children. Now, for the sake of sheer political positioning, we are going to return to a situation in which children will be placed behind razor wire in places such as Dungavel.”