Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Ignorance Is Politically Expedient

The following question was asked by Lord Hylton in the House of Lords yesterday:

"To ask HM Government what assessment they have made of the cause of the recent hunger strike at Yarl's Wood Detention Centre; how many people were arrested; how many suffered injuries; and how many were locked down within the Centre."

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead) replied:

"A passive protest was undertaken by some of the residents of Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre over the weekend of 6 to 7 February which was resolved on Monday 8 February. No arrests were made although four women were detained by Bedford Police under immigration administrative powers. The incident was resolved without any use of force. One woman sustained a minor cut to her finger for which medical treatment was given. In total, 47 women were involved in the disturbance, in three different parts of the centre. The incident is subject to a management review."

Clearly Alan West's* response was woefully inaccurate, either because he was badly briefed or because he was knowingly telling a series of porkies.

* An ex-First Sea Lord and hence probably not an expert on these things (as if a politician would ever use that as an excuse).

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