Balls defends sacking of 'Baby P' manager

The political row over the "Baby P" case reignited last night as the Children's Secretary, Ed Balls, hit back against accusations that his actions had been "breathtakingly reckless".

Speaking in response to the criticisms made by the sacked head of children's services for Haringey, Sharon Shoesmith, he said: "I wasn't reckless. I didn't jump in... I waited for an independent report." He added that expert Ofsted inspectors had produced "a devastating report" showing "real failures in management in Haringey".

But Ms Shoesmith remained defiant yesterday. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's 'Woman's Hour', she rejected the damning criticisms that led to her downfall. Ms Shoesmith claimed that there is "much good practice" in Haringey and condemned the Ofsted report for its "blatant discrediting" of her.