Family ‘not just about marriage’ – Cameron

By Alex Stevenson

David Cameron is taking a step back from his pro-marriage stance in a speech this lunchtime.

The prime minister’s speech comes after hosting a roundtable event at No 10 with a coalition of family, children and relationship charities.

He is set to argue that parental bad relationships mean their child is more likely to live in poverty, fail at school, end up in prison and be out of work later in life.

But his rhetoric does not focus exclusively on marriage as the cornerstone of family life, as previous Conservative leaders have done.

“When I talk about families, I don’t just mean the married with two children model,” he will explain.

“Yes, I am pro-commitment, back marriage and think it’s a wonderful institution. But to me, a strong family is defined not by its shape, but by the love and support that’s in it – and we need to be there for all of them.”

Mr Cameron will reject “nanny-statism” as well as the traditional Tory laissez-faire approach.

“Today, people take a huge interest in relationships. It’s our politics that’s been left behind,” he will say.

“For years, government hasn’t talked about families, hasn’t understood the importance of support at the vital times, hasn’t valued commitment.

“And that’s why it’s been guilty of adding to, indeed at times creating, an environment for relationships which is all too often incredibly difficult. If we’re serious about supporting families, this is what needs to change.”