Madonna has child away from a London manger

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The Independent US

Madonna gave birth last night only hours after she made it clear that her proclaimed love affair with Britain does not extend to having the baby here. Such is her fear of Britain's "old and Victorian" hospitals that she insisted on giving birth in the United States.

Madonna gave birth last night only hours after she made it clear that her proclaimed love affair with Britain does not extend to having the baby here. Such is her fear of Britain's "old and Victorian" hospitals that she insisted on giving birth in the United States.

Her publicist, Liz Rosenberg, confirmed the birth of the baby in a statement in New York, but refused to provide any other details, including where the child was born, or his weight.

She said: "English film director Guy Ritchie and Madonna are delighted to announce the birth of their son, Rocco Ritchie, on August 11, 2000."

The entertainer chose to enter the debate about the state of the National Health Service during an interview with the Los Angeles radio station Kiss FM. Asked where she planned to give birth, Madonna said: "Come on, now, have you been to hospitals in England? They are old and Victorian." There were obvious dangers of "complications" in a less advanced country like Britain. "I like efficiency," she said.

In recent months Madonna has divided her time between the US and the west London home she shares with Mr Ritchie, the director of the film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

The Liberal Democrat health spokesman, Nicholas Harvey, had said earlier: "Maternity staff are under enough pressure without having to deal with pampered jet-setters. If Madonna has the money, she is welcome to go back to the US and leave more beds free for hard-working, tax-paying British mothers."

The Department of Health was more diplomatic. A spokesman said: "We wish Madonna well," while pointing out that the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, close to where Madonna has been living, was good enough for the Prime Minister's new arrival, Leo.

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