Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming has been suspended from parenting website Mumsnet after becoming embroiled in an online discussion about a controversial recent care case.
Re AA concerned an Italian woman whose baby was taken into care following a Caesarean section. The colourful MP posted a transcript of proceedings in an Italian court relating to the case. This identified some family members, thereby breaching reporting restrictions.
However, Mr Hemming, chair of the Justice for Families Campaign Group, later admitted he had not read the documents properly.
“As soon as I realised my error I contacted Mumsnet and asked them to take the posts down.”
Other Mumsnet users also reported the post, which was deleted.
Later the MP, who admitted drinking while on the site, ran into further problems after revealing the identity of another Mumsnet contributor by linking to their Twitter account. He said:
“I didn’t realise it was against Mumsnet’s rules and regulations. I haven’t read them.”
A spokesperson for Mumsnet said Mr Hemming had “been posting for some time”.
“Before Christmas, he was involved in a long discussion surrounding the…caesarean/adoption case. He posted a transcript of Italian court proceedings that named some of the mother’s children, which is in breach of UK reporting restrictions on the case. It was reported to us by John Hemming and by other users, so, in accordance with our guidelines, we deleted the post.”
“John Hemming was also reported for posting information that linked to Mumsnet users’ real names, which is against our ethos, and so we suspended him from the site… After a cooling-off period, while we review the things that led to the suspension, we will decide on the best way forward.”
Mr Hemming, who has been been commenting on Mumsnet for 11 years, admitted:
“Like everyone else I click the button without reading the rules. You have a choice as an MP of either not getting engaged with the public or of getting engaged with the public – so I engage with the public.”
Writing on his blog he said he had been “put on the naughty step by Mumsnet”, also claiming:
“My eight-year-old daughter is thrilled I’m on the naughty step and if she’s happy, I’m happy.”