Announcement soon on closure of Yarl's Wood

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An announcement will be made soon on moves to close an immigration centre dogged by controversy over its detention of innocent children, Nick Clegg told MPs today.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the Government would "shortly" be outlining how it would deliver its pledge to shut the Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre.

At Prime Minister's Questions Mr Clegg condemned the previous government, which he said had locked up 1,000 children "who were innocent of any wrongdoing whatsoever".

The coalition Government would soon explain how it would end child detention and close Yarl's Wood "for good" he told MPs.

The centre in Bedfordshire holds people awaiting deportation but has been strongly criticised over reports children have been denied medical treatment, subjected to violence and forced to undress in front of officers of the opposite sex.

Mr Clegg was urged by Liberal Democrat Julian Huppert (Cambridge) to tell MPs what "concrete action" he would take to end child detention for immigration purposes.

Mr Clegg said: "It was simply a moral outrage that last year the Labour Government imprisoned behind bars 1,000 children who were innocent of any wrongdoing whatsoever.

"This coalition Government, like so many other things, will once again restore a sense of decency and liberty to the way in which we conduct ourselves.

"I can confirm that the Government will come forward shortly with an announcement about how we will deliver on our pledge to end child detention and to close the Yarl's Wood Detention Centre for good."

A Home Office spokesman said: "The new Government has been clear in its commitment to end the detention of children and this includes those held in the family wing at Yarl's Wood.

"We are currently working to find an alternative that protects the welfare of children, without undermining our immigration laws.

"Yarl's Wood family unit will be closed, but the centre will continue to function as an immigration removal facility for adults."