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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

25 AUG 2011

MP who named family court parties in Commons faces calls to resign

ParliamentJohn Hemming, Liberal Democrat MP, is facing calls to resign after the President of the Family Division criticised him for using parliamentary privilege in the House of Commons to name, and campaign for, a woman who the judge found to have lied about her former partner.  

Ms Haigh, a racehorse trainer, fabricated sex abuse allegations about her former partner, David Tune, and "caused" her seven-year-old daughter to repeat the claims.

On Monday, Sir Nicholas Wall permitted the naming of the former couple so that Mr Tune could clear his name. The judge said: "The father is entitled to tell the world, and the world is entitled to know, that he is not a paedophile, that he has not sexually abused his daughter and that the allegations made against him are false."

A private investigator used by Ms Haigh to spread the allegations online, was jailed on Monday for nine months for contempt of court after breaching a court order preventing the reporting of the case.

In April this year, Mr Hemming used parliamentary privilege to break a court injunction and named Ms Haigh in the Commons.

The Labour MP John Mann, who was Ms Haigh's local MP when she was named in Parliament, has written to the House of Commons Speaker calling for Mr Hemming to resign.

Mr Mann said: "this explains why a gung ho attitude to the breaching of court injunctions on the floor of the House is both foolhardy and irresponsible. Mr Hemming has abused parliamentary privilege and should resign. He clearly has a psychological obsession with the breaking of court injunctions and is not fit to be an MP".

Mr Hemming has previously used parliamentary privilege to reveal information protected by court injunctions about Sir Fred Goodwin, former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, and the footballer Ryan Giggs.

This is not the first time Mr Hemming has clashed with Sir Nicholas. In 2008 the judge criticised Mr Hemming for his conduct while acting as a McKenzie Friend in a Court of Appeal case for a woman whose child was taken into care. The court ruled that that the local authority was right to take the girl into care.

In that judgment, Sir Nicholas said: "As to Mr Hemming, my judgment is that his self-imposed role as a critic of the family justice system is gravely damaged.

"Speaking for myself I will not be persuaded to take seriously any criticism made by him in the future unless it is corroborated by reliable, independent evidence".

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