UK
06/11/2013 11:26 GMT | Updated 06/11/2013 11:39 GMT

Ben Needham Search Not Getting Same Resources As Madeleine McCann, Says MP Angela Smith

The search for missing Ben Needham is not being treated as seriously as that for Madeleine McCann, an MP has suggested.

Labour's Angela Smith challenged David Cameron over why the Maddie search had been given extra cash - when a similar request from the Needhams had been turned down.

mccann needham

Still missing: Madeleine McCann and Ben Needham

Ben's mother Kerry Neeham lives in Smith's Penistone and Stocksbridge constituency.

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Speaking during Prime Minister's Questions, she said: "Two years ago, the Prime Minister rightly agreed that extra resources should be made available to assist in the search for Madeleine McCann and yet, only months later, he turned down a similar request from Kerry Needham, my constituent, whose son Ben is still missing after 22 years.

"Will the Prime Minister please think again and respond positively to my recent letter to him by making extra resources available to help a desperate mother to search for her son?"

Replying, Cameron said: "This is an absolutely heartbreaking case - the whole country has followed it over the years."

He promised to look carefully at Smith's letter, adding: "Obviously, it is important that the police make such decisions themselves. Governments should always stand by to help, which is what happened in the Madeleine McCann case, but I will look at what the Hon. Lady says and see what I can do."

Last month, DNA tests on a man living in Cyprus, thought to bear resemblance to missing Ben, proved negative.