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Home Office to form inquiry panel to look at child abuse

The Home Office has said it is to establish an "independent inquiry panel" to look at whether public bodies are doing enough to protect children from sexual exploitation.

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said:

The failings in Rotherham exposed by this inquiry are appalling and the coalition government is absolutely clear that the lessons of past failures must be learned.

That is why we are establishing an independent inquiry panel of experts in the law and child protection to consider whether public bodies – and other non-state institutions – have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse.

The government has also set up a Home Office led National Group, through which agencies are working together to better identify those at risk and create a more victim-focused culture within the police, health and children's services.

We will continue to work to ensure victims are not left to suffer in silence and those who exploit them are brought to justice.

– Norman Baker, Crime Prevention Minister

Home Office warns drivers over stowaways

The Home Office said tonight that 13 people found in a lorry in Kent, whose nationalities have yet to be confirmed, will be questioned later.

Officials had this warning for lorry drivers entering the UK:

Drivers and hauliers must take adequate steps to secure their vehicles from illegal immigrants trying to smuggle themselves across the border.

If a driver does not take these steps - and is found with people hiding in their vehicle - they will be issued with a civil penalty.

– home office spokesman

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Home Office 'providing support' after Tilbury docks find

The 34 people found alive in a shipping container at Tilbury docks are in the care of the Home Office after being interviewed by police and are in the process of applying for asylum in the UK.

"We are continuing to provide expert support, along with the National Crime Agency, to the Essex Police investigation into the discovery," a Home Office spokesperson said.

The 34 people found alive in a shipping container in Tilbury docks on Saturday are now in the process of claiming asylum in the UK. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

"This tragic incident is a reminder of the devastating human consequences of illegal migration and we will do all we can to help bring those responsible to justice," they added.

The Home Office does not comment on individual cases and any decision made will not be announced publicly.

May: We will 'look carefully' at tribunal decision

Home Secretary Theresa May said the government would look carefully at an Arbitration Tribunal's decision to award a £224 million pay out to US defence firm Raytheon.

The government will 'look carefully' at the tribunal's decision. Credit: PA

In a letter to the MP Keith Vaz, she said: "The Government stands by the decision to end the eBorders contract with Raytheon. This decision was, and remains, the most appropriate action to address the well-documented issues with the delivery and management of the programme."

She added: "We are looking carefully at the tribunal's detailed conclusions to see if there are any grounds for challenging the award."

The Home Secretary said key milestones had been missed by Raytheon in 2010 and parts of the programme were running at least a year late.

"The situation the Government inherited was, therefore, a mess with no attractive options," she said. "All other alternatives available to the Government would have led to greater costs than the result of this tribunal ruling."

MPs to quiz senior Home Office figure on abuse claims

A senior Home Office civil servant faces a grilling by MPs over its handling of child abuse allegations made over a 20-year period.

Permanent secretary Mark Sedwill will appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee to face questions over the quality of a review he commissioned last year.

Home Office Permanent Secretary Mark Sedwill faces MPs later today. Credit: Dan Kitwood/PA Archive/Press Association Images

As Theresa May announced new inquiries to Parliament yesterday, the Home Secretary said she was confident that the work commissioned by Mr Sedwill was "carried out in good faith".

However, she added that with "allegations as serious as these the public need to have complete confidence in the integrity of the investigation's findings".

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Govt: Changes to vetting and barring 'common sense'

The Home Office has hit back at claims changes it introduced to law which check and prevent sexual offenders from working with children have allowed predators to slip through the net.

It remains the case that anyone committing the most serious offences is still automatically barred from working closely and unsupervised with children.

The coalition Government introduced changes to the barring regime to apply common sense levels, but if someone applies to work with children any serious criminal records or police information are still considered when checks are carried out and, if necessary, they will be barred.

The changes strike an appropriate balance between avoiding unnecessary intrusion into people's lives and ensuring that children and vulnerable groups are protected.

– Home Office spokesman

Home Office confirms deportation of Nigerian family

A Nigerian mother who appealed against her removal from the UK, saying she feared her daughters would be subjected to female genital mutilation, has been deported.

The Home Office released a statement saying that Afusat Saliu "was not considered to be in need of protection".

Afusat Saliu with her two daughters. Credit: change.org

The statement also pointed out that Ms Saliu's appication to stop deportation had been turned down by the courts on several occasions.

"The case has gone through the proper legal process and our decision has been supported by the UK courts on five separate occasions, while the European Court of Human Rights declined an application to halt the removal.”

"We can now confirm that a Nigerian family were successfully removed to their country of origin today."

Mother fearing FGM believed to have been deported

Afusat Saliu and her daughters. Credit: Change.org

Supporters of Afusat Saliu, the mother of two who fears her daughters will be subjected to female genital mutilation in her homeland of Nigeria, believe she was deported last night, the Guardian has reported.

Home Office: Nigerian mother 'not in need of protection'

A Home Office spokesperson said:

We consider every claim for asylum on its individual merits and in this case the claimant was not considered to be in need of protection.

The case has gone through the proper legal process and our decision has been supported by the UK courts on five separate occasions, while the European Court of Human Rights declined an application to halt the removal.

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