Britain's Interior Minister Jack Straw, pitching into a bitter transatlantic battle over twins sold twice on the Internet, said the buying and selling of children was "frankly a revolting idea".
A British couple locked in a tug-of-love fight with a Californian couple over six-month-old adopted twins said their next step would be to apply for British citizenship for the contested children.
But the Californian couple, reported to have called in the American FBI, fought an angry war of words with the British couple in a live television link-up, saying "They have no right to take those kids off us".
And The Sun, Britain's best-selling tabloid that first broke the story, said: "This shameless baby auction is treating precious young lives as if they were merely cute puppies picked up off the shelf. It has to stop."
The dramatic saga started when Welsh couple Alan and Judith Kilshaw flew to California after paying an Internet firm 8,200 pounds ($12,070) to adopt the twins. The girls were given up for adoption by their natural mother, Tranda Wecker of St Louis, Missouri.
That is what the Kilshaws say they were told.
However the internet firm Caring Heart Adoption had already sold Wecker's twins to a California couple, Richard and Vickie Allen, who had paid some $6,000 for them and raised them for two months.
But suffering a change of heart, the girl's natural mother told the Allens she wanted two days to say a final farewell to her twins - and then handed them to the Kilshaws in a San Diego hotel.
The British couple, pursued by the Allens, raced across the United States to Arkansas, where adoption laws are more lax. They then flew back to their farmhouse in north Wales with the girls.
On Tuesday night, Alan Kilshaw told BBC television: "The next stages is that we need to apply for British citizenship. We fully intend to do that."
As the row escalated in Britain, Home Secretary (Interior Minister) Jack Straw said he was concerned about the circumstances which led to the girls arriving in the country.
"It's a matter of huge concern. I share that concern as a parent as much as a senior minister in this government," Straw told Channel Four News.
"It is illegal, completely illegal in this country for people to buy and sell babies or children and that is entirely as it should be because it is frankly a revolting idea," he added.
"Obviously what happened, happened in other jurisdictions in the United States, but nonetheless we need to look at the circumstances. There is also an issue of immigration control."