A UKIP Parliamentary candidate can appeal a ban on involving his children in political activities, a Family Court judge has ruled.
In A and B (Prohibited Steps Order at Dispute Resolution Appointment), the two youngest of the candidate’s children were the subject of a prohibited steps order. These are bans on certain, specific activities made by the courts.
The children’s mother was the primary carer for both children involved in this case and one of their three siblings. The father was the primary carer for the former couple’s two eldest children, although both parents spent “significant amounts of time” with each of the five children.
In a previous hearing, the mother claimed that one of her children had been “egged” while out campaigning with his father, who said his son had been “exceedingly amused to have an egg land somewhere near his feet”. The mother said she did not wish her younger children to be put in that situation.
The district judge who heard the initial case said that as “there are a lot of people in this country who have very strong feelings about UKIP”, he did not want to subject them to any potential “emotional harm”. He made an order which banned both parents from involving the two youngest children in any political activities.
The father sought to challenge the district judge’s ruling. He claimed that the judge had not given him an adequate opportunity to argue that the order was “neither necessary nor proportionate”.
Sitting at the Family Court in Bristol, His Honour Judge Wildblood said that he had a number of difficulties with the district judge’s decision. These included the lack of written or oral evidence and that the order did not clearly define “the consequences of any disobedience, the duration of the order or the activities that were prohibited”.
Before he made a ruling, Judge Wildblood said:
“I wish to make it plain that I am not a member of any political party and so any political interests in this case pass me by. I judge this application in accordance with the law.”
With that in mind, he concluded that the district judge’s decision “was procedurally irregular and cannot stand”. The judge allowed the father’s appeal and ordered a rehearing of the issues.
To read the full judgment, click here.