Work and Families Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 25th April 2006.

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Photo of Lord Northbourne Lord Northbourne Crossbench 5:00 pm, 25th April 2006

My Lords, I am most grateful to the Minister. I am always sceptical about consultation, especially when I have not been consulted. I wonder whether the Minister could arrange for me to have the relevant documentation and I will express my views to the consultation, although I dare say it will not make much difference.

The noble Lord omitted to comment on one of the points I made, which was that this proposal would increase the number of fathers who would take up parental responsibility. Different definitions can cut both ways. The definition of parental responsibility in the 1989 Act is the key definition of a father. It would be much better if the Government did not keep introducing in new legislation definitions of "father" different from those used in the Child Support Agency and Anti-social Behaviour Acts. We now have four or five different definitions of a father, which is helpful neither to us nor to fathers.