The adoption of a child from a Somali Muslim mother to lesbian parents has been delayed following protests in north-west London.

More than 50 women from the Somali community took to the streets outside Harrow Civic Centre to protest at the decision last Thursday.

They claim the mother and child’s religious beliefs and ethnicity were ignored.

Harrow Council cannot discuss the specifics of the case, however Conservative leader Susan Hall said: “Clearly there is always an ideal that a child could be matched with parents from a similar background and heritage.

“But the reality is the ultimate choice is governed by the kind of adoptive parents who are available. “The most important thing is that the child goes to a loving and supportive home and to people we believe, on the basis of thorough assessment, are best suited to look after them.”

The Harrow Observer reports the former Mayor of Harrow, Councillor Asad Omar, supports the protesters, but added that not enough people from black or ethnic minorities come forward as foster parents.

He said: “There is clearly a need for potential foster and adoptive parents from different ethnic backgrounds to come forward as recruits. As the country’s population becomes more diverse, that requirement is only going to intensify and it is something we need to address as soon as we can.

“As all parents know, a sense of security and permanence are vitally important to children.

“The careful search for the right adoptive parents also has to be matched against the fact that the child isn’t helped if this process drags on.”