Mum whose children were murdered by ex-partner praised by Sheffield MP for moving speech at Parliament

Claire pictured outside Parliament in 2016. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Claire pictured outside Parliament in 2016. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

A South Yorkshire mum has been praised for her immense courage after telling MPs how her ex-partner murdered her two boys.

Claire Throssell, 45, of Penistone near Sheffield, addressed MPs in the House of Commons on Wednesday. Her two boys, Jack, aged nine and Paul, 12, were killed in a house fire deliberately started by their dad, Darren Sykes in 2014. He also died in the blaze.

Penistone & Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith. Picture: Parliament TV

Penistone & Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith. Picture: Parliament TV

The boys were rushed to Sheffield Children's Hospital but later died.

Ms Throssell was praised by Sheffield MP Angela Smith and received special commendation by House of Commons speaker, John Bercow, who called it 'the bravest speech' he had 'ever witnessed' at speaker's house.

In the speech, Claire, who is now working alongside Women's Aid, urged MPs to back new laws which aims to protect children from abusive parents.

She has become the face of the 'Child First' campaign and lobbied for changes to the laws surrounding children in family courts.

Speaker John Bercow. Picture: Parliament TV

Speaker John Bercow. Picture: Parliament TV

New legislation introduced last month, means judges now have to justify every decision they make when children visiting parents who are perpetrators of domestic violence.

The brave mum spoke previously on how her two boys didn't want to continue to see their dad but were made to under a court ruling which granted Sykes five hours a week contact time.

Speaking in Parliament, Penistone & Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith urged the Leader of the House of Commons to bring a new court and domestic violence bill debate sooner than planned.

She said: "We heard the most incredibly moving testimony from my constituent Claire Throssell about how their children were murdered by their father who barricaded them into an attic and set fire to the home.

"The leader has already acknowledged the importance of this issue of domestic violence, so can I ask her once again that we have both the courts bill and the domestic violence bill, not within this parliament, but within this session."

"Speaker John Bercow said: "I was privileged to be there with her alongside many others and I say to this chamber as I said to Claire, her speech was the bravest and most remarkable speech that I have ever heard in speaker's house in nearly eight-and-a-half-years as speaker.

"I salute her quite extraordinary courage and her determination as I think everybody did. It was a privilege to hear her."

Responding to Ms Smith, Leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom said: "My heart goes out to her, it must've been the most horrendous experience.

"The Prime Minister over many years has shown her own commitment to eradicate the appalling and frequent incidents of domestic violence.

"We do have a commitment to bringing forward a domestic violence bill and it will be done as soon as possible."