Council launches UKIP foster row probe
The Government has ordered an investigation into reports a couple were told they could not foster three foreign-born children because they were UKIP members.
Joyce Thacker, Director of Children's Services for Rotherham Council, told the Today programme that UKIP's opposition to multiculturalism was a factor in the case. even though there was no problem with the care the couple were giving.
"I have to think about the [children's] needs. If the party mantra is ending the active promotion of multiculturalism, I have to think about that. These children are not local children to Rotherham," she said.
But the foster mother at the heart of the allegations has said she and her husband "were meeting the cultural needs" of the children", including "actively encouraging" them to speak their native language.
Education Secretary Michael Gove, who was himself adopted, said the decision was "indefensible" and pledged to lead a Department for Education inquiry into what happened.
“We are asking questions this weekend and we want to ensure that as quickly possible we get to the heard and the bottom of this. The Department for Education, under my leadership will ask the necessary questions to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible,” he told BBC News.
Downing Street also told PoliticsHome that David Cameron stood by remarks made in 2006 that some UKIP members were "closet racists" and insisted that he had never claimed that all UKIP voters were racists.
Ed Miliband has also called for an investigation into the decision from the Labour-run council after the unnamed couple spoke to the Daily Telegraph about the incident.
"Being a member of a political party like UKIP should not be a bar to fostering children. So, we need to find out the facts and the council urgently needs to get to the bottom of exactly what happened in this case," the Labour leader said.
UKIP's leader Nigel Farage told BBC News the couple should be put back on the foster register.
“I spoke to them earlier this week and they were very, very upset and my priority and their priority is that they should be placed back on the foster register and do what they’ve been doing for the last seven years. Because this is outrageous," he said.