Over the last month the Evening Standard has been highlighting the plight of London's poorest residents with its campaign, The Dispossessed. And it has revealed that dozens of babies have been buried in mass graves around London. In one case, the body of a five-day-old baby who died after being born prematurely was taken by a fox after the grave was not properly secured.
Yesterday 26 London councils signed up to an Evening Standard charter ensuring that every parent has the choice of a single grave for their child and that "open" graves are secured against animal intrusion. London Mayor Johnson told the paper: "No one could have failed to be moved by these stories, recognised the pain of families who have discovered their loved ones were buried in mass graves without their full knowledge or consent.
"The Evening Standard used good old fashioned investigative journalism to bring this schoking practice to the public conscience. Londoners will welcome the end of an inhumane practice from a bygone era."
Two London councils who have yet to sign up to the charter, Barnet and Brent, have said they need more time to consider it - the Evening Standard reports. The newspaper's investigation into the plight of London's poor echoes an acclaimed campaign launched by the paper fifteen years ago under then editor Stewart Steven to highlight the conditions of impoverished Londoners living in the East End.
The Dispossessed was launched on 1 March with an investigation by David Cohen revealing that babies are being buried four to a pit in paupers' graves in some parts of London.