I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this important debate. I, too, congratulate the all-party groups on securing it. In following some excellent and passionate speeches, I will keep my contribution very short.
My constituents are concerned about levels of immigration but concerned most of all that those held in detention centres are detained for the shortest possible period and that their welfare is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. They and I would like the Minister to give assurances that people are detained only as a very last resort and are processed swiftly. It is heartening to read that the majority of those detained are able to leave within 28 days and the remainder within four months. Whether someone is detained for a few days or a few months, their welfare while in detention is of the utmost importance to me and my constituents.
My hon. Friend Henry Smith, my neighbouring MP, mentioned two centres in his constituency. One of those was the Cedars centre, which is currently taking care of 12 children. Twelve is still too many, but it is a huge drop from the 1,000 children who were detained in detention centres during the period of a year under the Labour Government. It would be good to hear the Minister say how the number of 12 held in Cedars can be reduced even further. The welfare of those detained is often discussed when I have surgeries in my constituency.
Like the Minister, no doubt, I am waiting to see the Stephen Shaw report. I would be interested to hear the Minister comment on how soon any recommendations in that report can be implemented and how he will continue to make sure that there is a greater focus on the welfare of detainees.