Council to investigate foster move
A council that removed three children from the care of foster parents who are members of Ukip is to hold an investigation into the decision.
Roger Stone, leader of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, announced the investigation after the Labour-run authority came under mounting condemnation from political leaders including Education Secretary Michael Gove and Labour leader Ed Miliband, as well as Ukip leader Nigel Farage.
The three youngsters - European migrants - were happy with the couple and there was no question mark over the care they were providing. But the children were removed from them after social workers discovered their membership of the right-wing party which wants withdrawal from the European Union.
Mr Stone said: "We are going to investigate to make sure everything has been done professionally. If the professionals give advice, we take it. We are going to investigate - we always would if somebody complains."
Mr Gove said social workers had made "the wrong decision in the wrong way for the wrong reasons" and that he would be personally investigating and exploring steps to "deal with" the situation.
The politician, who heads the Government department responsible for children's services and who was himself adopted as a child, accused Rotherham of sending out a "dreadful signal".
"Rotherham council have made the wrong decision in the wrong way for the wrong reasons," he said. "Rotherham's reasons for denying this family the chance to foster are indefensible. The ideology behind their decision is actively harmful to children. We should not allow considerations of ethnic or cultural background to prevent children being placed with loving and stable families. We need more parents to foster, and many more to adopt.
"Any council which decides that supporting a mainstream UK political party disbars an individual from looking after children in care is sending a dreadful signal that will only decrease the number of loving homes available to children in need.
"I will be investigating just how this decision came to be made and what steps we need to take to deal with this situation."
Speaking in Middlesbrough ahead of Thursday's by-election, Mr Miliband said: "Being a member of Ukip should not be a bar to adopting or fostering children. We need an urgent investigation by Rotherham Council into the circumstances of this case."