Children of Alcoholics

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:58 am on 24th November 2015.

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Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Labour, Birmingham, Hodge Hill 10:58 am, 24th November 2015

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. Her intervention gives me the chance to say on the record how important her courage in speaking out some years ago was in persuading me that I could do it too. I very much follow in her footsteps.

Every child of an alcoholic has a different story. My right hon. Friend’s story is different from mine. Each of us in our own way and on our own journey learned that we could not really change things for our parents, but we sure as hell can change things for our children. That is what we have to do now as parliamentarians. We have to try to break the silence on this issue so that we can break the cycle of alcohol harm cascading down the generations. To normalise this conversation, we have to organise this conversation. We must sweep aside the stigma and the taboos. We must treat alcoholism as the disease that it is and make sure that help is within reach of those who need it. That is the only way we can help to heal so many lives up and down this country. It is a difference that I think we can make with practical steps over the months and years to come. I look forward to working with the Minister on putting some practical action into place.