Nigel Farage condemned 'another appalling case of discrimination' after a former district nurse said she had been prevented from volunteering as a mentor by the leading children's charity.
A row over two UKIP members having their foster children removed took a new twist last night when another woman claimed she had been barred from looking after children because she was a party candidate.
Nigel Farage, UKIP leader, condemned ‘another appalling case of discrimination’ after former district nurse Anne Murgatroyd said she had been prevented from volunteering as a mentor for young adults by leading children’s charity Barnardo’s.
Ms Murgatroyd, a mother of three, claims she told the charity of her political affiliation and was told it would ‘not be appropriate’ for her to perform the role, which involves supporting children coming out of the care system, because UKIP ‘opposes multi-culturalism’.
The charity said there were other reasons for Ms Murgatroyd’s rejection but refused to disclose further details.
The claim came as two investigations were launched into a council’s ‘indefensible’ decision to remove three vulnerable children from their foster parents because of their support for UKIP.
Social workers at Rotherham Borough Council claimed the married couple’s affiliation with UKIP meant they supported ‘racist’ policies which made them unsuitable carers for the non-British children and there were concerns for their ‘cultural and ethical needs’.
But amid widespread condemnation of their actions yesterday, the Labour-run council began an internal review, and Education Secretary Michael Gove announced his own investigation.
Last night, Mr Farage said he had ‘no reason’ to doubt Ms Murgatroyd’s story.
He said: ‘I met this lady at our party conference. We knew about this story at the time but she chose not to publicise it. She has now decided to make it known, really in support of the couple in Rotherham. Because of all that, I believe her story is genuine.’
Separately, UKIP officials said Ms Murgatroyd informed them of her problems with Barnardo’s several months ago.
The latest claim emerged in a series of posts Ms Murgatroyd, who stood as a UKIP candidate for Leeds City Council in May’s elections, made on Twitter.
She wrote: ‘Barnardo’s would not allow me to be a volunteer befriender of young people leaving care when I told them I was standing for UKIP . . . Barnardo’s rationale for this was that “UKIP opposes multi-culturalism”.’
Responding to a Mail on Sunday reporter, she wrote: ‘I’d almost gone through their process and been accepted when I told them I’d be standing for UKIP in locals . . . They checked with managers, discussed it, couldn’t accept me due to issue of multi-culturalism.
‘Their rationale was that because UKIP opposes multi-culturalism it would not be appropriate for me to mentor young people coming out of the care system. My argument was that, yes, I do oppose forced marriage and female genital mutilation and family killings but that does not make me unsuitable to befriend young people.’
Barnardo’s denied ‘blanket banning’ any applicant. It said: ‘The needs of the child must be paramount when making any decision about matching them with carers and the most important thing is to provide a loving and supportive environment.
People from all backgrounds work and volunteer for Barnardo’s but there are many factors to take into consideration when assessing suitability to work with children or young people. Cultural context is relevant, but so are family background, health, and any previous experience.’
The foster couple in Rotherham at the centre of a separate storm claimed Howard Woolfenden, the council’s former director of safeguarding children and families, had taken the decision to separate them from the children in their care without prior discussion.
They also denied claims their membership of UKIP affected their treatment of the children.
The wife said: ‘We were actively encouraging these children to speak their own language and to teach us their language. We enjoyed singing one of their folk songs in their native language.
‘These children have now been placed with families who are also white British. How are these people going to meet the cultural needs of these children?’
The Equality and Human Rights Commission said the decision may have breached the parents’ right to freedom of political opinion.
Mr Woolfenden was not available for comment.
In a statement, Rotherham council announced an immediate investigation and said: ‘Membership of a political party should not stop someone fostering children.’
Labour leader Ed Miliband called for an urgent probe.
Response: The charity said there were other reasons for Ms Murgatroyd's rejection but refused to disclose further details