Dozens of MPs have called on the Government to introduce a time limit when detaining immigrants and start treating them more humanely.

At a Chambers debate on immigration detention yesterday, 25 cross-party MPs spoke up in favour of a major overhaul of the current system where detainees have been locked up for months – if not years.

Conservative Richard Fuller MP, who was responsible for sparking the debate along with fellow Tory David Burrowes and Labour’s Paul Blomfield, called for an urgent end to the detention of rape and torture victims.

He also pressed the Home Office to shut down Yarl’s Wood – an immigration removal centre recently labelled a ‘place of national concern’ by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons.

“This is not just about the plight of the women in Yarl’s Wood and of others caught in the immigration detention system,” he said.

“It is not just about looking tough on immigration, because there is no inconsistency between being tough on immigration and having an effective policy. This is about the type of people we are. When it comes to Yarl’s Wood, it is time for the Minister to close it down.”

The Home Office does not have a maximum time limit for detaining immigrants, but denies it can be indefinite, though most immigrants have no idea how long they will be locked up for and there have been cases of refugees detained for three years.

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