Immigration Detention of Pregnant Women

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 26th November 2015.

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Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman The Second Church Estates Commissioner 9:30 am, 26th November 2015

What discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on immigration detention of pregnant women.

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Published Home Office policy states that pregnant women should not usually be detained unless there is a prospect of early safe removal. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary asked Stephen Shaw, the former prisons and probation ombudsman for England and Wales, to review the detention of vulnerable individuals. His report and the Government response will be published before the Immigration Bill completes its passage through Parliament.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman The Second Church Estates Commissioner

I welcome the Minister’s statement. In 2014, 99 pregnant women were detained at Yarl’s Wood, and I understand that there are some remaining cases. Will the Minister use her good offices to expedite those cases?

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I will make sure that the Home Office looks carefully at all the cases my right hon. Friend has raised. I repeat that pregnant women should not routinely be detained. The Home Office is currently considering Stephen Shaw’s review on detainee welfare, and we will publish his report before the Immigration Bill completes its passage.

Photo of Keith Vaz Keith Vaz Chair, Home Affairs Committee

I agree with Mrs Spelman. This is a big problem, but it is about the providers. What discussions will the Minister have with Serco, Mitie, G4S and other providers about the detention of pregnant women?

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Home Office has regular discussions with all providers to make sure that appropriate treatment is given to all vulnerable people held in detention. I repeat that the Stephen Shaw review will be published shortly.