A Conservative former minister has criticised the fact an article about child serial killer Lucy Letby is not available to read in the UK, as he argued this is “in defiance of open justice”.

The article published in the New Yorker magazine questioned the evidence used in the trial which convicted former Chester nurse Letby of the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of six others.

Sir David Davis called on the Government to review the court order which blocks those in the UK from accessing the article.

The Haltemprice and Howden MP told the Commons: “Yesterday the New Yorker magazine published a 13,000-word inquiry into the Lucy Letby trial, which raised enormous concerns about both the logic and competence of the statistical evidence that was a central part of that trial.

“That article was blocked from publication on the UK internet, I understand because of a court order. Now, I’m sure that court order was well intended but it seems to me in defiance of open justice.

'Court orders must be obeyed'

“Will the Lord Chancellor look into this matter and report back to the House?”

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk replied: “Court orders must be obeyed and court orders can be displaced by someone applying to court for them to be removed. So that will need to take place in the normal course of events.

“I will just simply make a point on the Lucy Letby case – that jury’s verdict must be respected. If there are grounds for an appeal, that should take place in the normal way.”

In August last year, Letby, of Hereford, was convicted of the murders which took place at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit, where she worked as a nurse, between June 2015 and June 2016.

The 34-year-old has submitted a bid to challenge her convictions at the Court of Appeal, with that three-day hearing taking place last month. The panel of judges then announced it would reserve judgment to a later date.

If judges decline to give the go-ahead for the challenge, it will mark the end of the appeal process for Letby.

The jury in Letby’s trial at Manchester Crown Court was unable to reach verdicts on six counts of attempted murder in relation to five children.

She will face a retrial at the same court in June on a single count that she attempted to murder a baby girl.

Reporting restrictions are in place for all UK media outlets to prevent a risk of prejudice at the retrial, and will remain in place until at least the end of the retrial, which is estimated to last three weeks from June 10.

Those restrictions prevent any UK publication producing new material in relation to the original 10-month trial, other than reporting of the original jury's verdicts.

As with any high-profile case, a new jury will be told by the trial judge to put any pre-trial publicity out of their minds, and not to carry out any of their own research outside of the evidence they will hear in the courtroom.

A court order also prohibits reporting of the identities of the surviving and dead children who were the subject of the allegations, as well as several members of Countess of Chester Hospital staff.