1. ITV Report

Foster couple threaten to sue council

Rotherham Council Photo: ITV Yorkshire

Two UK Independence Party supporters who are threatening to sue Rotherham Council after it took away their Eastern European foster children will be "backed to the hilt" by the party.

The couple claim the local authority wrongly accused them of leaking confidential information to the press after their three foster children were removed because social workers believed Ukip was a "racist party".

They said they have effectively been blacklisted from fostering as a result and have requested an apology from the local authority. But the council said it is not a matter for them but the agency that employs foster carers.

The pair, who are in their 50s, told the Guardian newspaper that their foster agency told them that the council accused them of leaking sensitive information about the children and their birth parents.

Ukip has revealed it would help them take legal action. A party spokesman said: "If that black mark isn't removed, their chances of fostering again are very, very limited."

He said Ukip will "entirely" support any law suit, adding: "We hope it won't come to that. We hope that Rotherham council will back down and do the decent thing and apologise. But if they don't we will back the family to the hilt."

Michael Gove Credit: Press Association

Education Secretary Michael Gove, who ordered an investigation into the matter, has branded the decision to remove the children "indefensible" and made "in the wrong way for the wrong reasons".

Rotherham council launched an urgent review when it was revealed that the children had been removed from their foster home in November.

Responding to the couple's threat of legal action, a council spokesman said in a statement: "The council is not and never has been the couple's employer. Their future employment as foster carers is not a matter for the council, it is a matter for the agency which employs them."