Britain is to join Australia in issuing an official apology for the “shameful” export of tens of thousands of children to Commonwealth countries with the promise of a better life, only for many of them to end up abused and neglected.
Apology, apparently, does not cover those kidnapped from families today by government.
In what Ed Balls, the children secretary, described as “stain on our society” the child migrant programmes saw poor, orphaned and illegitimate children sent to Australia, Canada and other former colonies until as recently as the late 1960s, often without the knowledge of their families.
Many ended up in institutions, many suffered abuse and neglect and many others were used as “slave labour” on farms.
Now after years of campaigning from pressure groups, Gordon Brown has agreed to meet with representatives of the surviving children before making a formal apology next year.
Mr Balls said the apology would be “symbolically very important”.