– Shadow Education Secretary, Stephen Twigg
I welcome the statement from Rotherham Council and their commitment to provide full co-operation with the Department for Education's investigation, so any lessons can be learned both for Rotherham and other parts of the country.
We would be happy to work with Mr Gove’s team on any wider issues this raises as well.
The upmost concern for everyone should be that the situation for the three children is resolved in their best interests.
Being a UKIP member should not be a bar to being a foster or adoptive parent, the key factor is whether those parents are providing a safe and loving environment.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said that Rotherham's head of children's services, Joyce Thacker, should lose her job over the fostering row that led to three children being taken away from their foster parents.
He also said the children should be returned to the couple.
I want them to be pardoned, I want the children to be returned to them and, yes, heads should roll.
Without any shadow of a doubt, (Ms Thacker) should go.
Mr Farage also indicated that his party is considering legal action against Rotherham Council.
If we are not going to get redress from Rotherham Council, we will have to consider other means. We are going to have to look at the legal route.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said he advised the couple who had their three foster children taken away by a council on the grounds that they are members of the party, to go public.
He told ITV News that he gave them the advice after they failed to get a suitable response from Rotherham Council.
He also said he knew of another case where someone was not able to be a mentor for Barnado's children's charity because they are members of UKIP.
The leader of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, Councillor Roger Stone, said in a statement:
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 now 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.
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.
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.
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.
The investigation will focus on the information, advice and evidence gathered before making this decision, the nature of the decision itself and how it was communicated.
Rotherham Borough Council, which removed three foster children from a couple because of their membership of UKIP, has said it will be "as open and transparent as possible" as it co-operates with an investigation ordered by Education Secretary Michael Gove.
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council is expected to reveal more today about its decision to remove three children away from their foster parents because the couple were members of the UK Independence Party.
UKIP have tweeted:
All eyes on Rotherham Council, report on UKIP fostering scandal should have been available at 9am, where is it?From @UKIP on Twitter:
A couple whose three foster children were removed because of their membership of UKIP would like a public apology from Rotherham Council.
The council removed the children because the couple's political affiliation was seen as being at odds with their European backgrounds.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, the wife said:
We feel that we have personally been slandered and we would like a public apology from Rotherham.
We would also like something in the form of a letter stating that they have got it wrong in this case and that it will not be on our records that we have had children removed from our care.
Deputy leader of UKIP, Paul Nuttall, has told Daybreak that his party is not racist and not sectarian.
"Infact our constitution is probably the most anti-racist constitution out of the poliotical parties, " he added.
Ministers are said to be preparing to change the law to prevent a repetition of the fostering row in which children were removed from a foster couple because they were UKIP members.
Minsters now want to extend new rules for adoption to fostering to make sure race, ethnicity and cultural background do not interfere with placements, reports the Times (£).
The couple, whose three foster children were removed because of their membership of UKIP, have asked for the youngsters to be returned to them.
However they also said that their chances have been wrecked because they do not want to cause them any more upheaval.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, the wife said:
From a personal and selfish point of view, we would like the children back.
But we are more concerned with the children’s welfare, and we do not want them traumatised any more than they already have been.
It is not going to be feasible to take these children back. They are the innocent victims in all this. They deserve better.