The newly elected MP for Rotherham, Sarah Champion, has told Calendar she is making it a priority to investigate why foster parents in the town, who support UKIP, had children removed from them.
The foster parents who had three children removed from them because they are members of UKIP have spoken about the case for the first time.
The children, two sisters and their brother, have been split up since being removed. The girls, one of whom is a baby, are with one family - the boy is with another.
While those involved wait for the outcome of an inquiry ordered by the Education Secretary Michael Gove, the couple, from Rotherham, say politics should play no part in the welfare of children. The voices of the couple, who don't wish to be identified, have been disguised.
The leader of Rotherham Council has refused to answer questions about the couple who have had three foster children taken from them because they are members of the UK Independence Party.
But Councillor Roger Stone made it clear that his authority would co-operate fully with an inquiry into the affair ordered by the Education Secretary Michael Gove.The couple at the centre of the row say they want the children back - and a public apology. Chris Kiddey reports.
The Secretary of State for Education has asked for an inquiry into a UKIP foster parents' children being removed from their care. A report by Rotherham Council was published today.
"The Secretary of State for Education has asked for an inquiry relating to this case over the weekend. The Council welcomes this. We will work very closely with and give full cooperation to the Department. The Chief Executive has this morning invited the senior officials making the enquiries to meet with him and other council officers in Rotherham as soon as possible, so that this information can be rapidly reported to the Secretary of State.
"This morning I received a report of the immediate investigation that was ordered early on Saturday by the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services. Having now listened to the initial report I am able to set out the way forward."Membership of UKIP should not bar someone from fostering.
"The Council places the highest priority on safeguarding children, and our overriding concern in all decisions about the children in our care, is for their best interests.
– Councillor Roger Stone, Leader of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
"We have been able to establish the facts in this case as far as is possible over the weekend, and I can confirm that the children are safe and in very good care."However, this remains a very complex case involving legal advice relating to the decision in question, particular features of the children’s background and an external agency responsible for finding and providing the foster carers concerned.
"In order to help the investigation further, we will also make all the facts established so far available to the Secretary of State’s officials."
There's mounting pressure on Rotherham Council tonight to explain its decision to take three children away from their foster parents because the couple were members of the UK Independence Party. UKIP's leader has also reasserted his position that his party is not racist.
Roger Stone, leader of Rotherham Council said today Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council is to launch an investigation into the decision to remove children from the care of two foster parents who are members of Ukip.
As a Social Worker tempted to comment on the Rotherham story however I'm cynical whether we've actually heard the full facts yet. #UKIP
It's sad that a time there is a chronic shortage of foster parents that the issue becomes a matter of political ideology #UKIP
Rotherham Council leader Roger Stone says the investigation into the decision to remove children from the care of two foster parents who are members of UKIP will ascertain whether "everything has been done professionally."
– Rotherham Council leader Roger Stone
"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."
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council is to launch an investigation into the decision to remove children from the care of two foster parents who are members of UKIP, council leader Roger Stone said.
Labour leader Ed Miliband has called for an urgent investigation into the case of three children living with foster parents in Rotherham being taken away because of the couple's political alliance.
"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. I don't know all the facts of this case but I am clear, what matters is children in Rotherham and elsewhere, and being a member of a political party like Ukip should not be a bar to fostering children. We need to find out the facts and the council urgently needs to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.
– Labour Leader Ed Miliband
The couple concerned are making extremely serious claims, very disturbing claims. Right-thinking people across the country will think there are thousands of children who need to be looked after, who need fostering, we shouldn't have the situation where membership of a party like Ukip excludes you from doing that. We need loving homes for children across the country. That can come in different forms, it's not about what political party you are a member of."