By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.
Hague stirs row over asylum
Labour, Liberal Democrats, refugee leaders, a former Tory
immigration minister and a current Tory candidate have all opposed
William Hague’s pledge for tough new asylum laws, announced
on Friday night.
The proposal for asylum seekers to be detained in reception
centres was declared unworkable by Charles Wardle, a home office
minister in John Major’s government.
Wardle said: “It will not tackle the problem since the majority
of asylum seekers are people who arrive on visas and overstay.”
Tory candidate in Dover Paul Watkins refused to back the
proposals saying he wanted a solution to the problem.
Hague’s plans to “clear up Labour’s asylum mess”
also included a new “removals agency” to track down people whose
claims had been rejected but who remained in the country.
Tony Blair criticised the Tory leader for opportunism saying:
“They are trying to exploit it while we are trying to deal with
Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said: “I think to play
this card in this election is mad, bad and dangerous. This is a
party which now combines all the instincts of Alf Garnett and the
appeal of Michael Foot.”
Source:- The Guardian Saturday 19 May page 1
Payne murder plea of not guilty
The man accused of the murder of Sarah Payne pleaded not guilty
to kidnap and murder on Friday at Lewes crown court.
Roy Whiting was remanded in custody until September and a trial
date was set for November.
The eight-year-old girl disappeared in West Sussex last July.
Her body was found 16 days later.
Source:- The Guardian Saturday 19 May page 13
Child jail chief suspended
The director of the first privately run child jail has been
suspended pending an internal inquiry.
Sue Clifton’s suspension was not to do with child welfare
or finance, according to Group 4, which runs Medway Secure Training
Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 19 May page 13
Charity chief in attack on mental care
The failure to develop adequate mental health care services, has
resulted in the over prescription of anti-depressants by doctors,
according to a charity leader on Friday.
Judi Clements, chief executive of mental health charity Mind,
said in her last speech in the role, that a 116 per cent rise in
the use of anti-depressants in the past five years, and a 732 per
cent rise for newer style drugs, such as Prozac, was a sign of the
effectiveness of “the pharmaceutical industry’s marketing
strategies and bankruptcy of some of our medical practices”.
Although it was possible that more people were seeking help for
mental problems, she said, “but we still have to ask whether the
high rate of prescribing and repeat prescriptions is not missing
the real opportunity to improve mental health”.
Clements spoke at Mind’s annual awards and condemned the
state of psychiatric hospitals which most people found “unpleasant,
untherapeutic and often downright frightening”.
She continued by criticising the fact that one in three people
with severe mental health problems had been turned away when
seeking help, and attacked the emphasis on forcing mentally ill
patients to comply with treatment.
Clements is retiring after nine years in charge of Mind.
Source:- The Independent Saturday 19 May page
New Straw crackdown on asylum
The government plans to impose a limit on the number of people
granted asylum in Britain, in a bid to clampdown on one of the most
delicate issues facing politicians.
The home secretary has hinted that he wants to introduce a quota
of refugees allowed to settle in Britain.
Currently, 76,000 a year claim asylum, with 20,000 being
permitted to stay.
Jack Straw refused to say when the cap would be introduced, but
said it was a medium term ambition for the next government.
He said he wanted to set the limit for the ‘low tens of
thousands’, a level that would be agreed with other European
His plans were immediately attacked by refugee groups who claim
the measures would breach the United Nations convention on
refugees, which gives asylum seekers the right to claim asylum in
the country of their choice.
Source:- The Observer Sunday 20 May page 1
Nudist on alert for paedophiles
Child protection officers are to be recruited at nudist camps
across the country in a bid to allay fears that the movement may be
infiltrated by paedophiles.
All 113 of the British Naturism clubs in the UK will have to
comply with the movement. They hope to avoid the type of abuse
scandal that has blighted the reputations of council-run
Earlier this year an official from a naturist club was jailed
for nine years after being found guilty of abusing children. Alan
Ross-Duff used his position of power, as chairman at the Blackthorn
Sun Club in Bedfordshire, to gain trust of parents so he could
carry out attacks spanning 11 years.
A spokesperson for British Naturism said it would not show
pictures of naked children on its website, but would continue to
show such pictures in its members only magazine which is vetted by
Source:- Independent on Sunday 20 May page
Met to get free help for anxiety
Free psychiatric services will be offered to Metropolitan police
officers to counter a rising tide of depression and anxiety.
According to new figures, the Met is losing hundreds of
thousands of pounds a year in missed hours and compensation claims
by officers suffering stress disorders.
At least 30 per cent of officers have been on long term sick
leave with some form of mental illness.
Metropolitan police commissioner Sir John Stevens has now
personally approved the appointment of a psychiatrist and
psychotherapist to reduce sick leave statistics.
Source:- Independent on Sunday 20 May page
Police arrest black adoptive mother after death threat
to white couple in Child X case
The prospective adoptive mother of Child X, a black child
forcibly removed from her white foster parents on ideological
grounds, has been arrested as police are investigating death
threats made to the white couple.
An anonymous phone call was made to Frances Holmes from a mobile
phone, and she was allegedly told: “If you want to fight, we will
Holmes is currently fighting her local authority for the return
of her four-year-old foster daughter.
The call was traced to the woman who is in the process of
adopting Child X. She has been questioned, but denied making the
call and was released without charges last Thursday.
Police say they are not looking for anyone else in connection
with the inquiry.
A spokesperson for Richmond upon Thames council said: “This
development has no implications for Child X’s placement and
we remain fully confident that the placement remains appropriate to
meet the child’s needs.”
Source:- The Mail on Sunday 20 May page 23
Did Sarah Lawson have to die?
The NHS was accused of failing a suicidal 22-year-old girl after
her father’s mercy killing trial last week. But the truth is
so simple. Anthony Browne investigates.
Source:- The Observer Sunday 20 May page 21
Straw vows to curb internet child porn
Jack Straw has pledged to introduce new measures to target
paedophiles who use the internet.
The home secretary said that “prevention orders” would be
introduced that police could use against those suspected of using
the internet to approach and “groom” children for abuse.
He added he wanted to “make Britain the safest country in the
world for children to use the web”.
Speaking at Northampton about Labour’s policy on law and
order, Straw said the images he had seen of children being abused
were quite unbelievable and completely shocking.
Ann Widdecombe, shadow home secretary, said that the measures
would still allow paedophiles who preyed on children to do so again
once freed, and said that under a Conservative government they
would face the penalty of law immediately.
Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 21 May page 4
Archdeacon bailed over child porn
The Church of England has suspended an archdeacon after his
arrest in connection with computer child pornography offences.
Archdeacon of Blackburn, the Ven Dr John Marsh was arrested last
week after a computer taken in for repairs was handed to the
police. Marsh was released on bail pending further inquiries.
The Rt Rev Alan Chesters, Bishop of Blackburn ,suspended the
archdeacon yesterday in line with national guidelines under the
Church’s Safe From Harm procedures.
Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 21 May page 2
Union chief attacks Straw’s asylum
Labour was accused of trying to outbid the Conservatives, who
have the toughest anti-asylum policies, yesterday by the leader of
one of Britain’s biggest unions.
Labour’s plan to impose a cap on the number of refugees
accepted to Britain each year, was attacked by the general
secretary of the GMB union John Edmonds.
He said: “It’s bad enough when the Tories were threatening
to deport so-called bogus asylum seekers. But here we have Jack
Straw claiming he will shut the door on genuine refugees. We
can’t win a Dutch auction with the Tories on who can be more
brutal to asylum seekers and we shouldn’t even be
Home secretary Jack Straw called for each member of the European
Union to agree annual quotas of asylum seekers allowed to stay in
the country. In Britain, the limit would be in the “low tens of
Source:- The Independent Monday 221 May page
Refugees forced to flee Glasgow
Asylum seekers and refugees are being moved out of Glasgow due
to the threat of escalating racist violence. This year alone, seven
families have already been moved to England, and a further 27
families have asked to be relocated according to the National
Asylum Seekers Service.
Source:- Scotland on Sunday 20 May page 1
HFEA mishandled case
The Scottish couple who are fighting for the right to choose the
sex of their next child were misled by the Human Fertilisation and
Embryology Authority (HFEA), according to an independent inquiry
published last week. The HFEA which regulates fertility treatment
in the UK, has apologised to Alan and Louise Masterton.
Source:- Sunday Herald 20 May page 1
Anti-refugee leaflets condemned
Residents on Glasgow’s Pollok and Thornliebank estates
have been joined by politicians in condemning the distribution of
racist leaflets attacking refugees. The leaflets, distributed by
the British National Party, depict a white family with the words:
“Isn’t it time we put our own people first?”
Source:- The Herald Monday 21 May page 2
Disability alliance sets out its manifesto
An alliance of six disability organisations in Scotland has
demanded that politicians make it easier for disabled people to
participate in the general election. The manifesto, Disability
Agenda for Scotland, warns that at the last general election 60 per
cent of polling stations had problems which made access for
disabled people either difficult or impossible.
Source:- The Herald Monday 21 May page 7
Glasgow accused over failing refugees
Glasgow Council has done too little too late to protect refugees
and asylum seekers in the city according to Robina Qureshi,
director of Positive Action in Housing. Qureshi said: “For too long
this city has not taken the issue seriously and this is the legacy
of its failure to tackle racism.” Qureshi’s comments came
following the latest spate of violent attacks on refugees in the
Source:- The Scotsman Monday 21 May page 4
Infertility and adoption
An investigative feature into infertility and the difficult
process of adoption.
Source:- The Herald Monday 21 May page 13