Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:39 pm on 8th June 2020.

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Photo of Jonathan Gullis Jonathan Gullis Conservative, Stoke-on-Trent North 9:39 pm, 8th June 2020

I welcome hearing the wide-ranging views from across the House, but I absolutely wholeheartedly support the Government and my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor. When I say that it is time to modernise, I am not doing down marriage in any way whatever. When a person enters into a marriage, they do so thinking about the lifelong impact that it will have on them. The same applies when they take the tragic decision to divorce. They come to realise and understand the pain and suffering that it will cause them, their partner, and, obviously, any children that they may have. The decision is not taken lightly in any shape or form.

It is important that we move away from the blame culture. I have heard many comments in this Chamber tonight that, somehow, divorce is damaging to children. As someone who was six months old when their parents divorced, I do not feel damaged. I was very lucky and appreciate that, while some had acrimonious relationships, I was able to access my mother and my father equally. I am aware that that is not always the case for others, but to use the word “damage” is quite extreme and it can be easily thrown around. I do not like to see that word being used so lightly.

The Bill is an important step forward. One of my hon. Friends made a really good point when they said that we were moving with the times.