Tories lament ‘Frank Gallagher’ parenting

Poor standards of parenting are the norm rather than the exception in Britain, a Conservative frontbencher will say today.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Chris Grayling will tell the Reform thinktank he believes good parenting skills need reviving to prevent ‘Frank Gallagher style parenting’.

Mr Grayling’s reference is to a fictional character in the sitcom Shameless whose unemployment and alcoholism prevents him from looking after his seven children.

“Frank’s kids might have turned out alright but that was more luck than good judgment – and no thanks to him,” Mr Grayling will say.

“There are too many communities where parents no longer know what good parenting is.

“When you overlay the challenges that many people in our most deprived areas face in their daily lives, then good parenting skills can disappear very quickly.”

Mr Grayling will press in his speech the importance of the Tories not distancing themselves from single parents, who he admits his party has seemed “at war with” at times over the last 25 years.

He will add: “There are millions of devoted lone parents delivering the care and nurture children need, often in challenging circumstances. We want to help lone parents build their lives, not stigmatise them.”

But Mr Grayling’s primary concern is that, in many places, “Britain seems to be forgetting how to parent”.

“It’s always dangerous for politicians to future gaze but I think the loss of parenting skills is too important an issue to avoid,” he will say.

“In too many parts of our society responsible parenting and good parenting experience is disappearing.”