MP: LIFT SECRECY OF BABY COURTS; Social Services 'Act like the Gestapo'

Article excerpt

Byline: FIONNUALA BOURKE

A BIRMINGHAM MP has backed calls to lift the secrecy surrounding family courts after social services threatened to place his baby daughter on the at-risk register.

John Hemming said many parents were being wrongly accused of harming their kids based on discredited medical evidence at the closed-door hearings.

The Lib Dem MP for Yardley is now backing calls for the Government to review the veil of secrecy surrounding the heartbreak family court cases.

Father-of-four Mr Hemming accused Birmingham Social Services of acting like 'the Gestapo' following the birth of his newborn baby Isabel in October.

Her mum, Emily Cox, came under suspicion from the department because she had not registered the death of a stillborn baby she had as a teenager.

Mr Hemming, 45, claimed officials from the department even tried to question his 30 year-old mistress as she went into labour.

'It was harassment,' he said. 'They were acting like the Gestapo.'

Because of the unregistered stillbirth, social workers initially recommended that Isabel should be placed on the child protection register. The demand was later withdrawn, it is understood.

Mr Hemming is married to wife Christine, 46, and owned up to the extra-marital affair when it was revealed Emily was expecting.

He said at the time: 'Emily is very distressed. I am caring for her as well as my wife and our children.'

Miss Cox told her GP during an ante-natal consultation about the stillbirth, which happened when she was 17 years old.

Police

Mr Hemming said a social worker and two police officers later called at her Birmingham home. He said the social worker 'barged in and told her that the council would take her new baby away unless she co-operated with their inquiry'. …