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Lords Amendment

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:30 pm on 6th November 2002.

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Photo of Lord Clinton-Davis Lord Clinton-Davis Labour 9:30 pm, 6th November 2002

My Lords, I am privileged to follow the noble Lord, Lord Bhatia. He spoke from his personal experiences; there is nothing quite like that.

I participate as a former Member of Parliament for an inner-London area. In that environment, I found that young children who mixed with other young children who talked to them and played with them, and from whom they were separated only by age and ability, were able to learn the language and impart that language to their parents. They benefited enormously from that.

There is a great danger that children will be institutionalised in the bigger accommodation centres, whether they hold 750 people or fewer. That is a real danger. Why should they, innocents that they are, be institutionalised—imprisoned—by what they happen to see and what they witness? As a former Member of Parliament and as somebody who had a lot to do with the issue in my professional life, I think that what the noble Lord, Lord Bhatia, said has a great deal of credibility. I ask my noble friend to say why the noble Lord and I are wrong.