THE former director of children's services at Haringey Council has warned there could be more cases like that of Baby P if government cuts go ahead.

Sharon Shoesmith told delegates to the North of England Education Conference that government cuts would leave "vulnerable children" in London at risk from being killed by their "desperate" parents.

Ms Shoesmith said: "I think everyone now expects that these cuts are going to hit hard on vulnerable children. This translates into a higher risk for children, the risk of more children dying at the hands of their desperate parents. No one dares say this, but I do."

In her first major public speech since being fired Shoesmith said she was "sorry" about the death of Baby P, who was killed in Tottenham in August 2007.

“The murder of Peter Connelly is something I struggle to live with every day, as do the social workers who knew him," she said. "There was never any doubt about how sorry and distressed we were by his brutal murder.”

Ms Shoesmith was sacked in 2008 after council staff failed to spot numerous examples of abuse to 17 month-old Peter Connelly, known as Baby P, by his mother Tracey Connelly, her lover Steven Barker and his brother Jason Owen.

David Lund, executive director of children, adult and family services at Blackpool council, who organised the conference, defended his controversial decision to invite Ms Shoesmith.

He said: "This conference should give us an opportunity to learn and for self improvement. Sometimes we learn far more from situations that don't go quite right than those situations that go well."