Mumsnet suspends MP after debate on Caesarean case

Family Law|News|January 3rd 2014

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.”

She added:

“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.”

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  1. Tristan says:

    Mumsnet is a hornet’s nest of extremism, particularly notable for its sexist, anti-father diatribes posturing as “advice” given by members, some positively man-hating, to one another. I imagine Hemmings at least brought his own unique version of rationality and sanity to the proceedings.

  2. JamesB says:

    I was suspended from Mumsnet and gingerbread.

    They have free speech, as long as you agree with them.

    I suppose they are not as good as they make out.

  3. JamesB says:

    Nothing illegal in my case, just that the single mums didn’t like my views.

  4. Luke says:

    If you look up the career of the MP John Hemming then one can only say that none of this is a surprise…

  5. Andrew says:

    I’m told the Boundary Commission may be about to make him an ex-problem. I live in hopes.

    JamesB: free speech does not mean that a paper or a website has to play host to what you want to say. Start your own forum if you don’t like the rules on theirs.

  6. Tristan says:

    Long may John Hemmings remain as an irrepressible thorn in the side of those establishment types who turn a blind eye to the abuse he exposes in the care and child protection systems. Note that criticism of him tends always to be about playing the man, rarely the ball where his lofty intellect and perspicacity resist all challenge.

    We need more like him, a champion of the weak and oppressed, that indefatigable ex-nuclear scientist and astrophysicist (whatever he is) not fewer. We salute you, John, (whatever you’re up to!). Keep pricking the pomposity of those prigs who live to despise you.

  7. JamesB says:

    I take your point. However I think that they get away with more because of who they are. E.g. Gingerbread gets government money, F4J doesn’t. I suppose my point isn’t about free speech rather about bias in these forums.

    The line if you don’t like politicians become a politician is what you are saying. Well, I do not agree. You vote for the politicians you like and go to the media you like. If there aren’t any then that is a shame but not my fault.

    If sites or media or politicians catered more for others then they would get more interest. Here is the example I would give (Marilyn’s site). another would be wikivorce or yahoo messageboards or the mainstream media comments sections which do not seem to be badly censored like mumsnet and gingerbread and politicians are and that is a shame.

    I agree with you that freedom of the press is very important to a good country and am thankful we still have that. I also agree with you that I was wrong (does happen) and that this is not a freedom of speech issue. Probably just me not liking these sites and saying the people on them are closed bad minded as Tristan says. Agree with his (or her) comments.

  8. Anonymous says:

    You could probably do a study of the high levels of harm that Gingerbread and Mumsnet have caused children in this country, by virtue of the poisonous advice they give and the positions they take about things. However, there are other organizations in existence that promote responsible parenting and better solutions after divorce. Unfortunately, it’s not in anybody’s monetary interest to promote them.

  9. Stitchedup says:

    The Guradian women’s pages are another hornet’s nest of extremism and misandry. I’ve been suspended from there for daring to disagree.

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