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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 June, 2004, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Children's tsar in Dungavel talks
Kathleen Marshall
Professor Marshall is due to meet ministers
Scotland children's commissioner plans to meet ministers to discuss her concerns about the detention of children of asylum seekers at Dungavel.

Professor Kathleen Marshall said the detention of children at the immigration centre in Lanarkshire was against their welfare.

Scotland Office Minister Anne McGuire said she would meet the professor.

Mrs McGuire insisted that on some occasions it was necessary to detain the children of asylum seekers.

During Scottish Questions in the House of Commons, Scottish National Party MP Annabelle Ewing said the commissioner had warned that the welfare and development of children was likely to be compromised by detention.

Mrs McGuire said: "I think the commissioner also said the facilities inside Dungavel were good.

In Dungavel we try to turn the families around very, very quickly although there have been one or two exceptional circumstances
Anne McGuireScotland Office Minister
"The reality is that if your party was in charge of immigration within Scotland you too would have to put in place a structure which dealt with those who were not willing to accept the outcome of the immigration or asylum process."

Mrs McGuire said she was due to meet the commissioner soon and looked forward to hearing her views.

Speculation that the controversial centre was to be expanded was denied by the government.

Mrs McGuire said a newspaper report that the Home Office intended to extend the Lanarkshire centre to provide 150 places for families was "totally untrue".

She was responding to concerns raised by shadow Scotland secretary Peter Duncan.

Labour's John Robertson praised the facilities at Dungavel and the commitment of its staff.

He sought assurances that families would be detained there for as short a period as possible.

Mrs McGuire said: "Some of the pictures painted in the media of Dungavel in no way reflect the high quality of service that good people are giving inside Dungavel to refugees and asylum seekers.

"In Dungavel we try to turn the families around very, very quickly although there have been one or two exceptional circumstances."

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