During the campaign, I was challenged to sign the Sanctuary Pledge, which among other things included a commitment to ending the detention of children for immigration purposes. On a personal level, I would have been very happy to commit to this but the advice from Conservative Campaign Headquarters was that although we aspired to do this we could not commit to it. I could have done the easy thing and signed up to it based on my individual views but I felt that I should only commit to things that I was confident I could deliver - politicians making promises at election time that they then don't honour is one of the things that has undermined people's faith in our politics. So I declined to sign it and received quite a bit of stick at the New Addington hustings meeting as a result (amusingly, my Labour opponent signed it, even though it was contrary to his own Government's policy, and no-one said a word).
I am delighted that the Queen's Speech contains a commitment to ending this stain on our national reputation. Immigration Minister Damian Green will be leading a wide-ranging review on how to achieve it and setting out our plans in the coming months. The Government has already announced that we will no longer hold families with young children overnight at the Dungavel removal centre in South Lanarkshire.