24/11/2012 08:12 GMT

Rotherham Council Announce Investigation Into Ukip Foster Parents Fiasco

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, it said on Saturday.

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.

The three youngsters - European migrants - were happy with the couple and there was no question 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.

roger stone

Rotherham council leader Roger Stone announced the inquiry on Saturday

Stone added: "We are looking to make sure all the correct procedures were carried out before the decision was made."

The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, said the council made "the wrong decision" and would personally investigate what lead to the decision.

Gove, who was adopted as a child, said Rotherham sent out a "dreadful signal" by taking the children from the foster family.

"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," he said.

michael gove

Michael Gove said he would personally investigate the council's actions

"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".

Gove was backed by the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, who also called for an investigation into the council.

Campaigning in Middlesbrough, Miliband said: "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.

"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."

ed miliband

Miliband condemned the council, calling for an investigation

Rotherham Borough Council took the three "not indigenous white British" children from the unnamed couple after expressing concern about the party's stance on immigration.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, the couple, who took the three children on a short-term emergency placement, said they were "dumbfounded" by the affair.

The two, who are in their late 50s, had previously been foster parents for some seven years, taking on near a dozen children in that time.

Joyce Thacker, the strategic director of children and young people's services at Rotherham council claimed the children were only placed with the couple as an emergency, and the placement was not a long-term arrangement.

"Also the fact of the matter is I have to look at the children's cultural and ethnic needs. The children have been in care proceedings before and the judge had previously criticised us for not looking after the children's cultural and ethnic needs, and we have had to really take that into consideration with the placement that they were in," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.