Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc.) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:53 am on 2nd February 2018.

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Photo of Will Quince Will Quince Conservative, Colchester 11:53 am, 2nd February 2018

I am very sorry to hear of my hon. Friend’s loss, and I thank him for his campaigning on this issue. He makes an important point about the discrepancy in our law, and the time has come to address it.

The all-party group on baby loss has two fundamental aims. The first is to reduce stillbirth and neonatal death, and the Government have been hugely supportive on that aim. We now have a target of halving stillbirth and neonatal death by 2025. When I first arrived in Parliament and we raised the issue in late 2015, the aim was to achieve that reduction by 2030, but the date has been brought forward. That is fantastic news, because we lose between nine and 15 babies every day. We have one of the worst records in the western world, and it has to change. The Government have put in place a number of steps to make that happen, and I am hugely positive and optimistic about the future.

Even if we meet the aim of reducing stillbirth and neonatal death by 50%, however, 2,500 to 3,000 babies will be stillborn every year. That does not even touch on the huge number of parents who suffer what we define in law as a miscarriage, and the Bill will give us the opportunity to look at registration and recognition in that area. Even if we achieve all our aims, there will still be parents who go through this emotional and personal tragedy. That is why bereavement care and support are so important. The hon. Member for Washington and Sunderland West was right to mention cold cots, because we need such facilities—and, indeed, bereavement suites—in every hospital in the country.