Enforced Removal (Families with Young Children)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 12:04 pm on 10th January 2006.

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Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 12:04 pm, 10th January 2006

As others have done, I congratulate Mr. Mullin on securing this debate. He spoke not just with tremendous knowledge but with great compassion. He gave the example of his constituent's child writing a will and leaving his Pokémon cards. As a parent whose house is littered with those cards, I found that particularly poignant. The hon. Gentleman rightly presented a tightly focused argument in relation to highly dysfunctional countries such as Congo, Angola and southern Sudan—to which I would add Burma, and other Members could add other countries. I hope that the Minister will address his specific concerns.

John Robertson made an interesting contribution about the forced removal of children, particularly young children. He rightly put forward the concerns of immigration officers and police officers, and I do not argue with what he says about the difficulties facing those public servants in such situations. However, I cannot go along with his conclusion, because in creating policy that affects children, our primary consideration must always be the best interests of the child. That is the test that we apply for our own children, and I cannot countenance a different standard or approach being adopted for the children of others.