MP who named Giggs and Goodwin faces calls to quit
John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP who made a name for himself by saying things in Parliament which could not legally be said anywhere else, has been accused of being unfit for public office.
A fellow MP has written to the Speaker saying that Mr Hemming should be made to quit Parliament after a woman whose cause he championed was accused by a judge of being a liar. John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, accused Mr Hemming of being "foolhardy and irresponsible" and of having a "macho attitude" towards the courts.
Vicky Haigh, a horse-racing trainer and jockey, has been involved in a dispute with her former partner and with Doncaster Council over custody of her daughter. Mr Hemming took up her case after she attended a public meeting which he chaired in a room in the House of Commons, where she spoke about the case despite a court order banning publicity.
After the meeting, Ms Haigh received a court summons that appeared to threaten her with prison. Mr Hemming raised the case on the floor of the House of Commons, as a potential breach of parliamentary privilege and a threat to free speech. Mr Hemming also named Ms Haigh, which he was able to do because he was an MP speaking in the Commons.
Previously, he used parliamentary privilege to reveal that Sir Fred Goodwin, former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, had taken out a super-injunction to prevent details of his affair with a work colleague from being published, under which it was forbidden to name Mr Goodwin or describe him as a banker.
Mr Hemming again used parliamentary privilege to expose Ryan Giggs as the footballer who had obtained a similar injunction to protect him from being named as having had an affair with the Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas.
The Haigh case is different, because it involved a dispute over a child's welfare. All the details except the name of the seven-year-old child involved, known as X, are now public; a court hearing this week culminated in a woman who had acted as an investigator for Ms Haigh being jailed for nine months for contempt of court. Elizabeth Watson was accused of sending "aggressive and intimidating" emails and internet postings about social workers involved in the case.
Sir Nicholas Wall, the UK's leading family court judge, said Ms Haigh had accused her former partner, David Tune, of being a paedophile, knowing that it was a lie, and of behaving as if she thought she was above the law.
"Allegations of sexual abuse were first made by the mother and not by X. These were false and the mother knew them to be false. X was coached by the mother to make allegations of sexual abuse against the father," he said.
This judgment prompted Mr Mann, who was Vicky Haigh's local MP at the time, to denounce Mr Hemming for drawing attention to the case. "A gung-ho attitude to the breaching of court injunctions on the floor of the House is foolhardy and irresponsible," he said.
He added that Mr Hemming "clearly has a psychological obsession with the breaking of court injunctions and is not fit to be an MP".
Mr Hemming stressed yesterday that he had never commented on the rights or wrongs of the family court judgment, but raised the case because of the implications for free speech.
He told The Independent: "I think people have a right to talk to parliamentarians and I think Parliament should stand up for that. What I said in the House of Commons was about Doncaster Council's attempt to jail her, because once judges or councils start trying to lock people up in secret, I get very edgy. Apparently John Mann would like to see them locked up."
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
- 4 Kanye West stops concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
- 5 QS university world rankings: Imperial College London leapfrogs Oxford to join Cambridge as best British university
Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: Police will be on high alert on Friday whatever the result
QS university world rankings: Imperial College London leapfrogs Oxford to join Cambridge as best British university
Scottish independence exclusive: Millions of banknotes sent to Scotland in case Yes vote sparks run on ATMs
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...
£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...
£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...