John Hemming MP (Lib Dem, Birmingham Yardley) today made a spectacularly irresponsible and dangerous statement. He encouraged a pregnant woman whose unborn child is on the Child Protection Register, and who has a history of violence and substance misuse, to skip the country to evade social services.
There’s a story in today’s Sunday Express, of what superficially looks like one of those “politically-correct, interfering social workers” stories that the Express is so fond of.
SOCIAL workers want to seize a baby as soon as it is born because they are concerned about the mother’s violent links to the English Defence League.
Durham County Council has told Toni McLeod she would pose a “risk of significant harm” to the baby. Social workers fear the child would become radicalised with EDL views and want it put up for adoption immediately….
However, her cause has been taken up by Lib Dem MP John Hemming who, despite his loathing for the EDL, raised it in the Commons. He contrasts her treatment with that of the extremist Islamic cleric Abu Qatada, who was allowed to remain with his children when he was briefly remanded on bail earlier this year as the Government tries to deport him.
He said: “It raises a curious question as to why Abu Qatada is allowed to radicalise his children but the state won’t take the chance of allowing Toni McLeod to look after her baby in case she says something social workers won’t like.
“I am very strongly opposed to the EDL, which I believe to be a racist organisation, but I do not think we should remove all of the children of the people who go on their demonstrations, however misguided they may be.”
Mrs McLeod is reportedly considering a move to Ireland to evade the eyes of social services.
John Hemming MP has also commented today about the case on his blog.
I oppose the EDL myself. Mrs McLeod says she now does not support the EDL. My view is that the EDL are generally out for a fight rather than expressing a political position. However, I do not think association with the EDL is good cause to remove a new born child from a mother. She has no real choice but to emigrate because the care system is so orientated towards adoption.
First of all, there’s a concern here because he says, “She has no real choice but to emigrate”. He’s not saying, “Look, you should cooperate with social services, and show them that you’re a capable mother, regardless of your political views.” He’s effectively saying, “Yes, it’s okay to leg it, even though your foetus is on the CPR.”
Also, and there’s a real irony here, the Express seems to have done its homework more thoroughly than Mr Hemming. As with Mr Hemming they state that Mrs McLeod no longer supports the EDL. However, unlike Hemming, they report that she’s now believed to support the North West Infidels, an EDL splinter group that are, if anything, even worse. A couple of months ago five of their members were arrested for inciting racial hatred online. Earlier this week their leader John Shaw was jailed for neglecting his herd of llamas so badly that some of them died of starvation.
Also in the Express article (but again not mentioned by Hemming) are some snippets that perhaps paint a rather different picture of Mrs McLeod than a victim of political correctness.
Mrs McLeod, who is 35 weeks pregnant, is a former leading member of the EDL, in which she was notorious as “English Angel”. The 25-year-old has a string of convictions for violence, including butting and biting a police officer after an EDL march in 2010 and she has been banned from owning dogs after setting a pit bull on a former partner….
Mrs McLeod has posted racist abuse on social networking sites but denies being racist…
Documents seen by the Sunday Express reveal social workers are worried about Mrs McLeod’s previous alcohol and drug misuse, her “aggressive behaviour” and her alleged “mental health issues”…
Mrs McLeod’s unborn child is her fourth, all of them by different fathers, even though she’s only 25, and the first three have already been removed from her care. Still, I shouldn’t be judgemental or make assumptions about that. I’m sure she’s a perfectly good mother when she’s not biting police officers or setting dogs on people.
Mr Hemming presumably has read the Express article, since he’s linked to it from his blog. Despite all that deeply worrying information about Mrs McLeod’s behaviour, he’s happy to make a media statement enocouraging her to leave the country so social services can’t monitor her.
Well done Mr Hemming, way to put cheap political point-scoring above the safety of a vulnerable child.