UPDATE: The press now accept – 6 months too late – this smear story was fake news.
The tabloid press (and I include The Times and The Telegraph in that description) lied about the story of the little girl put into care with a Muslim family.
Here are 10 of their worst lies – along with the real facts of the case as we know them:
1) According to court documents, it was the police not the local authority (as stated by the tabloids) who decided the child should be put into foster care:
2) According to court documents, the foster family criticised by the tabloids was a temporary placement.
3) According to court documents, the child herself is from Muslim heritage and her Muslim grandmother has now been cleared by the courts to look after her. This fact is only disputed by the girl’s mother but none of this was mentioned by the tabloids as it would obviously totally destroy their narrative:
The veil in the photographs published by the Mail and other so-called ‘news’papers was photoshopped onto a stock picture of a Muslim family taking a walk in a park in Dubai:
5) According to court documents, the child’s mother has not at any time requested the foster parents be changed:
6) The press claim the foster parents do not speak English. This is not true. Tower Hamlets council have confirmed that the temporary foster parents do speak English. According to court documents, the Family Court dealing with the case has also expressed no concerns about the foster parents’ level of English. The press simply lied about that:
7) According to council foster care officials, the temporary foster parents did not ban Easter as stated by the tabloids. There is also no mention of this according to court documents by either the mother herself or the lawyers representing her. The press simply lied about that.
8) There is no evidence, apart from claims by the tabloid press, that the temporary foster parents have banned crucifixes and bacon from the home. There is also no mention of this according to court documents by either the mother herself or the lawyers representing her. The press simply lied.
9) According to court documents, it seems the child was put into temporary foster care by the police because of the mother’s alcohol and drugs problems. There was no mention of this fact by the tabloid press, presumably as it would put a question mark over the mother’s credibility and her criticism of the temporary foster parents.
10) The foster parents have been rated very highly by independent assessors, including the child’s own independent Children’s Guardian whose job is to advocate solely for the welfare of the child:
Those are the sad facts of the case. It is beyond disgusting that supposedly professional journalists would manipulate a tragic case involving a little child to further the political ends of their proprietors.
And personally my anger knows no bounds at comfortably-off journalists smearing and bullying foster parents – people who are doing a difficult job caring for children in often very tragic circumstances for very little financial reward.
The following so-called journalists are either so incompetent they got the facts wrong, or they lied. Either way, they should be sacked:
Andrew Norfolk – The Times
Fiona Parker – Mail Online
Martin Robinson – Mail Online
Jonathan Reilly – The Sun
Cyril Dixon – The Express
Allison Pearson – The Telegraph