The parents of sick baby Charlie Gard are reportedly concerned the lawyer appointed to represent their baby son heads a euthanasia charity.

Victoria Butler-Cole, who speaks on Charlie’s behalf in court , is chairman of Compassion in Dying, a sister organisation to Dignity in Dying.

The charity campaigns for a change in the law to make assisted dying legal in the UK.

Dignity in Dying used to be called the Voluntary Euthanasia Society.

The two charities share the same chief executive and media team and trustees .

Trustees, like Mrs Butler-Cole – can only sit on one charity if they support the aims of the other.

Mrs Butler-Cole was appointed to the role by the publicly-funded state body Cafcass which acts in the best interests of children in court cases.

But parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard, from Bedfont, in west London, believe they should speak for Charlie in court hearings that are deciding his fate rather than a guardian representing him.

According to the Telegraph , a source close to the couple said: “The family find it astonishing. The implication is obvious. It looks like a profound conflict of interest.”

Lawyer Victoria Butler-Cole (Image: http://www.familylaw.co.uk)
Charlie is in intensive care (Image: PA)

CHARLIE GARD’S FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL AGAINST RARE DISEASE

But Compassion In Dying said it was wrong to suggest there was any conflict of interest between Mrs Butler-Cole’s role in the case and her views on assisted dying.

A spokesman said: “There are clear differences between this case, the work of Dignity In Dying and the work of Compassion In Dying. The Charlie Gard case is about making decisions in the best interests of a seriously ill child.”

Charlie Gard’s mum last week won an explosive battle with Great Ormond Street Hospital as a court ruled she can attend crunch doctors’ meeting about her son’s treatment.

Connie Yates will be allowed to join US neurologist Professor Michio Hirano, who is flying in from New York today, to see if the sick tot will benefit from an untested therapy.

Great Ormond Street Hospital, who is caring for Charlie , tried to stop the 31-year-old from attending because it believed doctors would not necessarily ‘speak freely’ in her company.

The 11-month-old’s exasperated parents yelled “he’s our son!” as they clashed with opposition lawyers in the High Court for a second time on Friday.

Last week, the couple stormed out of court; shouting to the judge and leaving their son’s teddy bear behind.

The hospital suggested a “full and open” discussion between experts about Charlie’s condition – mitochondrial disease – could not take place with his parents present.

Katie Gollop QC, representing the hospital, said: “I think there needs to be a very full and open discussion between treating clinicians, potentially of a fairly scientific level.

“Nothing that I have said on that issue is for any improper purpose. It is to facilitate the provision of best evidence, and not for any other purpose.”

The judge said: “Do you mean the various clinicians involved will be reluctant to say it as it is with the parents there?

“I wonder whether there is anything that can be said they couldn’t deal with, because they have had to deal with so much.”

Ms Gollop said: “Very much of what has been said has been enormously difficult. Such that there there has been some disturbance, and leaving the court.

“I am not confident we can have a situation where they are not.”

It was at this point that Mr Gard interjected: “He’s our son!”

Connie and Chris arriving at the Royal Courts of Justice (Image: Splash News)

Connie’s lawyer Grant Armstrong argued she should be allowed in as she is now an expert on his syndrome, which causes muscle ­weakness and brain damage.

He said: “Connie Yates has almost as much understanding of these technical issues as anyone in the UK.”

She and partner Chris Gard, 32, said the victory was “excellent news” after doctors lost the fight to keep her out.

Their spokesman Alasdair Seton-Marsden added: “Great Ormond Street Hospital tried to block the parents from a meeting about their own child.

“After protracted legal discussions, the court decided that mum could attend.

“We are delighted Connie will now be at the meeting with Professor Michio Hirano, the world’s leading expert in Charlie’s condition.”

On Thursday, Charlie’s furious parents stormed out of a High Court hearing about their son’s fate after a disagreement with the judge.

Chris Gard stood up and said: “I thought this was supposed to be independent”, before he and his partner, Connie Yates, walked out without warning.

The couple, reportedly left their 11-month-old child’s favourite cuddly monkey toy behind in the London courtroom.

The parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard (Image: REUTERS)

Prof Hirano thinks experimental nucleoside bypass therapy could improve Charlie’s dire condition, giving his parents hope in their battle to keep him alive.

After ­studying the 11-month-old for himself, he will sit down at a meeting with all of the international experts who have provided opinion in the case.

Mr Armstrong told the High Court: “This could be described as the most critical meeting in this case in terms of the professionals, and the skill of the professionals travelling from America and from Italy merely ­underlines just how important it is.”

Charlie’s parents, of Bedfont, West London, want to take him to the US, or a hospital in Rome, for the therapy.

It has not been trialled on humans. But Prof Hirano estimated it would give at least a 10% chance of improvement in muscle strength and a “small but ­significant” boost in brain ­function.

Neurologist Professor Michio Hirano, an expert in Charlie’s condition (Image: Columbia University)
  • Key moments in Charlie Gard’s life

Great Ormond Street invited Prof Hirano and others to visit Charlie in January, it was revealed yesterday. The hospital’s barrister Katie Gollop QC said he had yet to visit for “reasons the hospital simply doesn’t understand”.

UK doctors believe Charlie has ­irreversible brain damage and should be allowed to die with dignity. In April, the High Court granted permission for the youngster’s life support to be withdrawn.

Connie and Chris took their case to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court but lost. And the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene.

The High Court will sit again on July 24, with Mr Justice Francis hopeful of delivering a final ruling the next day.

Connie and Chris yesterday condemned internet trolls who have launched a sick hate campaign against the hospital, its staff and legal team.

Mr Seton-Marsden said: “Under no circumstances does any member of Charlie’s family or true supporters condone any such action.”

Connie Yates leaving the Supreme Court on June 8 (Image: PA)

Charlie, who has a rare genetic condition, has survived two plans to withdraw his life support.

His parents, of Bedfont, south-west London, thought they had reached the end of the road last week, after four courts ruled in favour of Great Ormond Street Hospital doctors who said Charlie was brain-damaged beyond hope, and that it was kinder to let him die.

But Pope Francis and Donald Trump electrified the public campaign to ‘save Charlie’ with supportive tweets.

The court heard that White House staff contacted the American doctor shortly before he made his claims about Charlie. He then spoke with Great Ormond Street on July 4.

Two days later, a letter was sent by the doctor and six other experts in Charlie’s condition to the hospital.

It led to Great Ormond Street asking the High Court to reconsider the claimed “new evidence”.