MP takes up cause of pregnant detainees

Angela Crawley MP calls for end to detaining pregnant women
Angela Crawley MP calls for end to detaining pregnant women

Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley has called on the UK Government to end the detention of pregnant women in immigration facilities.

This follows revelations that that more than 100 pregnant women have been held in immigration detention since July 2016.

She told the Gazette that her worries centre on exercising of the provisions of The Immigration Act which came into force on July 12, 2016.

This new law placed a 72-hour limit on the detention of pregnant women for the purposes of removal, extendable to up to a week in total with Ministerial authorisation.

However, she is concerned that, in some cases, mums-to-be are being held longer than the Act’s limit. For the period July to December 2016, 27 pregnant women were detained in the immigration detention; in 2017, 53 and in 2018, 23 women were held (up to 30 June). Of these women, one was detained for 102 hours.

Commenting, the MP said:“It is a disgrace that the UK Government are choosing to lock pregnant women in immigration detention facilities.

“Pregnant women are uniquely vulnerable and will almost always have specific, and sometimes serious healthcare needs.

“Locking them in detention centres poses a severe risk to both their and their baby’s health.

“With the risks attached to locking these vulnerable women in jail cells, there is simply no justification for the policy. Alongside the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Maternity Action, Women for Refugee Women & Medical Justice, I call on the UK Government to end this horrific practice.”