Nick Clegg has still not fulfilled a promise to stop any child being held in an immigration centre, it emerged yesterday as the Home Office announced 17 young people were detained last month.
The Deputy Prime Minister made the issue a personal mission, forcing a commitment to end the practice into the Coalition Agreement.
Although the number has been cut from around 100 a month in 2009, a handful are still in detention. Ten, including five aged under five, were held at Cedars, "pre-departure accommodation" for failed asylum-seekers near Gatwick Airport. Another six, including four aged under five, were detained at Tinsley House near Gatwick. A 17th was held at Harmondsworth, near Heathrow.
A Liberal Democrat source contrasted the small number with the "thousands effectively being kept in prisons for months at a time" under the last government.
He said: "That simply wouldn't have happened without the Lib Dems and Nick Clegg."
But the Refugee Council's chief executive, Donna Covey, said: "When will they actually fulfil this pledge once and for all?"
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