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Tuesday 23rd September 2014
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Calls Grow For Ashya To Be Reunited With Family

Tuesday, 2nd September 2014 09:35

Prime Minister David Cameron has joined mounting calls for Ashya King to be reunited with his jailed parents as Portsmouth City Council calls for a halt to extradition proceedings against them.

Brett King and his wife Naghemeh, from Portsmouth, remain in police custody in Madrid while a Spanish court considers whether to grant a British extradition request.

Ashya, who has a brain tumour, is under police guard at the Materno-Infantil hospital in Malaga, about 330 miles south of the capital.

He has not seen his parents since they were arrested on Saturday after taking him out of Southampton General Hospital to seek specialist cancer treatment abroad.

A court in Madrid has called the parents for a hearing tomorrow morning to hear whether they will be released ahead of a judge's decision on their extradition.

Separately, Britain's Crown Prosecution Service is reviewing the case to decide whether prosecution is required.

A High Court judgement is also expected on the wardship of Ashya who was made a ward of court on Friday

In an interview with LBC, Prime Minister David Cameron joined a chorus of voices calling for the King family to be allowed access to Ashya, saying pictures of the boy reminded him of his own son Ivan who died almost six years ago.

"Watching the pictures of him brought back memories of my desperate ill young boy Ivan and I remember him endlessly sitting on my lap and having to feed him through a tube and having to deal with all of the difficulties of having a desperately ill child," Mr Cameron said.

"But the government mustn't tell the police how to act or what to do, nor can we interfere in processes in other countries.

"I just hope there is a rapid outbreak of common sense so the family can be reunited with this young boy and the best treatment can be given to him either in the UK or elsewhere."

Earlier Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told Sky News it was a "heartbreaking" situation.

"I've got a five-year-old son and the idea of leaving him in a hospital with no contact with parents and siblings fills me, as I imagine it fills all parents, with horror," he said.

"I would like to see the family reunited and then hopefully people can calmly make a decision about what should happen next.

Meanwhile Portsmouth City Council Leader, Donna Jones, issued a statement calling for an end to the extradition proceedings.

"Like others who have been watching this upsetting case unfolding in the media, I have been moved by the plight of the King family and am most concerned about Ashya. I believe what he needs now is to be with his family," she said.

"That's why I am urging the CPS to urgently review the case involving Ashya King's parents and remove any extradition proceedings, so the family can be reunited with their five-year-old son."

A petition calling for the family to be reunited has also been handed in to Downing Street.

It has emerged that Ashya's parents are planning legal action against Southampton General Hospital.

However the hospital claims it had discussed options for alternative proton beam therapy with the family at a facility in Prague.

"We were willing to support the family's transfer to Prague for proton beam radiotherapy, although we did not recommend it," a spokesperson for University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said.

Over the weekend a spokesman for the hospital said that "our priority has always been Ashya's welfare".

British police officers are understood to be in Spain to question Ashya's parents.

In a statement, Hampshire Constabulary reiterated that it would made no apology for "being proactive" in the search for Ashya.

"We would far rather face criticism for acting proactively than not and risking a child's life," the statement said.

But the statement said Ashya now needs the best medical care and for his family to be with him at "what must be a very difficult and scary time for a little boy who, potentially, has limited time."