Committee (1st Day)

Part of Cohabitation Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 30th April 2009.

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Photo of The Bishop of Southwark The Bishop of Southwark Bishop 5:45 pm, 30th April 2009

The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Winchester, who sadly cannot be present this evening, spoke at Second Reading of being a critical friend of this Bill. The result is that these Benches can support some of the amendments, but not others. I apologise that I shall shortly have to leave the Committee to get back to my day job, but the fact that these Benches will then be empty does not reflect a lack of interest on our part. We hope to play a full part at a later stage.

Before I go, I am pleased to support Amendment 1. The noble Baroness, Lady Deech, referred to Families in Britain: An Evidence Paper, prepared for the Cabinet Office in December 2008. We were told in that work that about three in five first cohabitations turn into marriage and that less than a fifth of cohabiting relationships survive five years or more. It would, therefore, seem that five years is about right as a qualifying period for protection.