UK foster row sparks political furor, spotlights anti-EU party

Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:16am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - British politicians berated a local council in England on Saturday after it removed children from a foster family's care because of its support for a political party that wants the UK to exit the European Union and backs tighter immigration rules.

The row has spotlighted the UK Independence Party (UKIP) that has seen its popularity rise in recent months on the back of growing voter disenchantment with Britain's membership of the EU, and has raised hackles among conservative politicians who accuse the left of excessive political correctness.

The decision to remove the children from the couple's care because of their support for UKIP was taken by Rotherham Council in the north of England which is controlled by Britain's opposition Labour party.

Speaking to the BBC, Joyce Thacker, strategic director of children and young people's services on the council, said she had to decide whether some foster placements were appropriate for particular children.

"These (particular) children are from EU migrant backgrounds and UKIP has very clear statements on ending multi-culturalism, (on) not having that going forward, and I have to think about how sensitive am I being to these children," she said.

Media reports said the council has launched an investigation into the matter. The council could not be reached for comment.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage condemned the council's move.

"We are a non-racist, non-sectarian political party ... they (the couple) were giving those children love and stability and all the things they need," he said.

"They have been discriminated against .... on the basis that they support a party that says we shouldn't be part of the European Union and we should control our borders and that is the most appalling prejudice," he said.   Continued...

Britain's United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader and member of the European Parliament Nigel Farage addresses the European Parliament during a debate on the last EU summit in Strasbourg, December 13, 2011. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler