Will a mother lose her baby because she’s in the EDL?
TONI McLeod, a mother of three young children, is due to give birth very soon. McLeod, of Durham, is eight months pregnant. She’s worried. There is a chance that as soon as she give birth, Durham County Council’s social workers will take her child away from her. In May 2012, a court ruled that her three other children should be permanently removed from her care.
Want to guess why? Well, up until 2010, Tony McLeod was a member of the English Defence League (EDL).
Mrs McLeod might not be a sympathetic character, but she could be any of us.
Patrick Hayes cites a report by a Durham social worker that trills:
“Toni needs to break away from the inappropriate friendships she has through the EDL… in order that she can model and display appropriate positive relationships to the baby as he/she develops.“
The Sunday Express reported:
“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.”
Says Toni McLeod (and you may laugh):
“I have never owned a pitbull.”
The Sunday Express says social workers are concerned about Mrs McLeod’s record of alcohol and drug abuse, her “aggressive behaviour” and her alleged “mental health issues”. The report alleges a link to a group called the North West Infidels. She says:
“There doesn’t need to be any actual proof of anything. It can all be based on possible risk in the future… Like in my case, it’s the likelihood of emotional abuse through radicalisation. The baby’s not even born!”
Her cause has been taken up by Lib Dem MP John Hemming, who argues:
“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.”
Indeed. But why cite an extreme example? If the State decides that Communists are a danger to their children, will those kids be removed?
Says Toni McLeod:
“It’s like, hold on a minute, please don’t say I’m going to have my kids taken away if I don’t agree with your political views?”
Her concerns that her link to the EDL are part of the social workers review seem valid. Does the Government want parents to be partners of the State? Scrutinising the decisions of social workers and the secretive Family Court in public would be a good thing. Thee are highly sensitive personal situations discussed by lawyers and vested interest groups in camera. That can’t be right.
The overriding rule is that child’s welfare is paramount. But what of the lives of adults?