‘Stiff upper lip’ denying terminally ill a ‘good death’
The British “stiff upper lip” and the stigma surrounding death are denying more than 100,000 people a year the chance of dying in their own homes surrounded by their loved ones, a leading GP has warned.
Prof Mayur Lakhani, chairman of the National Council for Palliative Care, said many terminally ill patients miss out on the consolation of a “good death” because both they and their doctors are too afraid to talk about the end.
A practising GP and former chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Prof Lakhani called for a “change of philosophy” in the medical profession to allow for greater acceptance of death, including its “spiritual” dimension.
He said that without a different approach people will continue being condemned to spending their final days in hospitals when they could be in the relative comfort of their own home or a dedicated hospice.
Prof Lakhani was speaking as GPs were offered new training videos with advice on how to broach the subject of “end of life” care.
Last week a study in Scotland found that so-called “Anticipatory Care Plans” (ACPs) helped dramatically reduce the number of unplanned hospital admissions for people facing the end of their lives.
The plans enable patients with long-term conditions to set out what kind of treatment they want in the event of a sudden deterioration, enabling them to opt out of invasive or painful treatment which might not significantly prolong their life.
They deal with a much wider range of scenarios than “advance directives” – or “living will”, which deals with what treatment patients want in the final hours of their life and questions such as resuscitation.
Almost 500,000 people a year die in Britain, the majority of them in hospitals after suffering conditions such as cancer, heart disease or respiratory failure.
But studies have shown that, given the choice, around 70 per cent of people would prefer to die at home and around a third of those who die in hospital could have been cared for at home.
He said: “These decisions should be made early because if you do plan early it gives you a chance to say ‘goodbye’ and say ‘sorry’ and say ‘I love you’. “The spiritual bit is very important as well, it is not just about health care it is about a more humane society. “I think we need to change our philosophy to say ‘we are not going to be able to cure these people but actually we can help them have a good death – a happy ending’.”
He added that in other societies, such as India or Mexico, death appeared to be a more accepted part of life. “It is a societal thing, we have become less open, death takes place in hospital not at home, most people have never seen a dead body,” he said. “It is a fact of life but people have become scared and they think it is going to tempt fate by discussing it. “It is the stiff upper lip … we have become more reserved and this is a difficult issue.
“But I think if we become a little bit more open about it, what I have seen as a practising doctor is that there is an enormous sense of relief when this comes out into the open and people start talking about it.”
Mark Hazelwood, director of the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care, said: “I think as a society we are reticent about talking about these things and we don’t come across conversations where it is happening so it can be a reinforcing thing.
“Doctors are part of our society, just as all of us would, doctors can find these topics difficult to discuss.
“It can be too far away as well, they can be concerned about upsetting patients and diminishing the hope that the patients may have, it can be a difficult judgment.”
Scotland has been at the forefront of several new initiatives to promote the use of ACPs.
They include a new electronic system in which care plans would be more easily accessible to out-of-hours doctors or paramedics.
Outrage as yob pupils ‘allowed back into lessons on appeal’ in Britain
Pupils expelled from school for dealing drugs, attacking other children and carrying weapons are being allowed back into lessons against teachers’ wishes, it emerged today.
Figures show more than 500 children permanently barred from school lodged an appeal against the decision last year.
In around one-in-four cases, independent appeals panels found in favour of the pupil. Some 400 expelled pupils have been reinstated over the last five years.
According to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, one child in Lewisham, south London, was allowed back into class despite being permanently excluded for setting off fireworks in a crowd of students.
In Bournemouth, a child who was expelled after admitting smoking a cannabis joint on the school field was allowed back into lessons even though the head teacher said the reinstatement would send out a “very damaging message”.
The Government has now taken action to ban appeals panels from reinstating pupils who have been permanently expelled as part of a fresh crackdown on indiscipline.
Ministers insist the move will give head teachers the final say over bad behaviour and shift the balance of power in schools away from unruly pupils.
Nick Seaton, a spokesman for the Campaign for Real Education, said: “It undermines the authority of the teachers and the school if pupils who have been expelled are allowed back in.
“Youngsters should know exactly where they stand, and if they are told there are certain zero-tolerance policies for some misdemeanors, then there should be no exceptions. Schools should have the final say.”
Data obtained after an FOI request to local authorities in England showed how children routinely appealed against expulsions last year.
* A child in Blackburn who was allowed back into school despite fears staff were at risk following repeated verbal outbursts, with the appeals panel ruling that teachers needed to make more allowances for the pupil;
* A pupil who was expelled for being openly defiant and rude to teachers in Hampshire before being allowed back because he had only been suspended once before;
* A school in Lambeth that was told it was too harsh on one pupil after expelling him for attacking another child;
* A pupil who was expelled from a Barking and Dagenham school for carrying a craft knife – only to be allowed back when the school admitted it was at fault for not securing the knives in the design and technology classroom;
* A Nottinghamshire school that reinstated a child expelled for carrying drugs after the panel agreed there was no evidence the pupil had been trying to supply it to others.
Under the Government’s new Education Bill, appeals panels have been retained and they can order a school to reconsider an expulsion case. But panels cannot order schools to take pupils back.
A spokesman for the Department of Education, said: “We agree that no child should be allowed to continually disrupt a class, causing misery to other pupils and teachers.
“That’s why the Education Bill will stop appeals panels sending excluded children back to the school from which they were excluded.
“Independent review panels will ensure there is a quick, fair and independent process for reviewing exclusions, and will place more emphasis on professional judgement and the impact of poor behaviour in the classroom”.
Greenie nut caught out in Britain
The feud between Energy Secretary Chris Huhne and his economist ex-wife Vicky Pryce culminated yesterday in sensational charges against both of perverting the course of justice.
Mr Huhne, the first Cabinet minister in history to be forced from office by a criminal prosecution, fiercely protested his innocence and pledged to fight the charge of using his former wife’s name to escape speeding penalty points.
Greek-born Miss Pryce, by contrast, made no reference to how she intends to plead, simply declaring she hoped for a rapid resolution to the case.
If she admits the charge, she could be called to give evidence against Mr Huhne, while if she decides to plead not guilty, she will almost certainly end up side by side with her husband in the dock.
The allegations, which stretch back to 2003, surfaced after the couple separated in 2010 when the Energy Secretary announced he was leaving his wife of 27 years for his aide Carina Trimingham, who had previously been in a civil partnership with a woman.
It is claimed that the millionaire MP sought to evade speeding points by putting them in Miss Pryce’s name.
The long-running criminal probe has sent shock waves through the Liberal Democrats and the Government as a whole.
Friends said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s wife Miriam telephoned Miss Pryce minutes after she learned she was to face trial, telling her: ‘If you need somewhere to stay, if the kids need support, we’re here.’
One friend who spoke to Miss Pryce after charges were announced said: ‘She seems very cheerful and in a good mood. It’s like a Greek drama. But she was very buoyed up by Miriam’s call.’
For months, the Energy Secretary had appeared confident that charges would not be brought, declaring only last week that he believed prosecutors would drop the case.
Allies even suggested that he might stay in his job if he faced trial – a prospect apparently killed off by Mr Clegg and Cabinet
Yesterday 57-year-old Mr Huhne, who has three children and two stepchildren with his former wife, quit shortly after charges were announced, describing the decision to take the case to court as ‘deeply regrettable’.
‘I am innocent of these charges and I intend to fight this in the courts and I am confident that a jury will agree,’ he insisted. He said he was resigning as Energy Secretary ‘to avoid any distraction’ to his official duties or trial defence.
Mr Huhne and his ex-wife face the extremely serious charge of perverting the course of justice – an offence for which, along with perjury, former Tory Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken was jailed for 18 months.
A jail sentence of more than 12 months would mean Mr Huhne’s Parliamentary career coming to an end, as well as his Cabinet one. MPs who are imprisoned for more than a year automatically lose their seats.
Regardless of the merits of the case against him, his departure from the Cabinet was met with private delight by many senior Tories, who have regarded him as an abrasive and grandstanding coalition colleague.
Mr Huhne’s relationship with Mr Clegg has also long been tense. Mr Clegg only narrowly defeated Mr Huhne in a contest for the Lib Dem leadership, and Mr Huhne’s allies always insisted he would have been crowned the winner had a bunch of postal votes not been delayed.
The Deputy Prime Minister went out of his way to suggest Mr Huhne could make a swift return to Government if he was acquitted.
In a letter to his former leadership rival, Mr Clegg said: ‘I fully understand your decision to stand down from government in order to clear your name, but I hope you will be able to do so rapidly so that you can return to play a key role in Government as soon as possible.’
The Prime Minister pointedly made no mention of a possible return in his own letter accepting Mr Huhne’s resignation.
During a visit to Plymouth, Mr Cameron said: ‘I think Chris Huhne has made the right decision, given the circumstances.’ Mr Cameron’s spokesman declined to say that the Prime Minister felt any personal sympathy for Mr Huhne.
The charges relate to a speeding offence committed on March 12, 2003. It is said to have taken place while Mr Huhne was driving back from Stansted airport having returned from the European Parliament, where he was then an MEP.
Last week Essex police took possession of emails and other material from the Sunday Times, which published an interview with Miss Pryce in which she first made the allegations.
Britain’s Solar power incentives lose their shine
The fledgling industry has been flourishing, but the halving of government subsidies has thrown it into confusion
The last year hasn’t been a happy one for the British economy: GDP fell by 0.2 per cent in the final quarter of 2011; unemployment rose to a 17-year high; and government debt recently reached a record £1 trillion.
One sector, however, has been bathing in the broad sunlit uplands of growth. In 2010 there were 450 solar businesses, employing around 3,000 people; by the end of last year, there were almost 4,000, employing more than 25,000 people. In September alone, some 16,000 households had solar panels installed – twice as many as in June – as everyone from farmers to vicars to Mick Jagger (plus thousands of other canny home owners with £12,000 to spare) scrambled to take advantage of generous government subsidies.
It was, said Lord Marland, an energy minister, in a House of Lords debate this week about halving the subsidies, “one of the most ridiculous schemes ever dreamed up”.
The Government’s case is that the taxpayer is paying through the nose to subsidise inefficient technology at the expense of other renewable technologies. The solar industry argues that the Government has acted unlawfully, putting thousands of jobs at risk and stifling a promising industry at birth.
The feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme was introduced, appropriately for its detractors, on April 1, 2010. Under the scheme, householders could install solar panels on their roofs – at around £12,000 – and receive a high rate, guaranteed for 25 years, from energy companies for the electricity generated, while simultaneously saving on their energy costs (the average installation generates just over half a home’s energy needs).
According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average household could expect to be almost £1,200 a year better off by selling electricity to the grid at a rate of 43.3p per kilowatt hour (six times more than the energy companies pay for their own electricity).
Inevitably, the generous scheme ran out of control – there were more than three times as many solar installations as predicted. The Department of Energy and Climate Change estimated that, if the subsidies continued at the same rate, £100 could be added to everyone’s electricity bills by 2020. Meanwhile, the average cost of a solar panel had fallen by a third. Last October, the Government decided that this jamboree had to stop.
They went about it in a remarkably cack-handed way, however, announcing a halving of the tariff to 21p on December 12 – 11 days before a consultation period finished. A high court judge found this legally flawed, following a challenge by Friends of the Earth and two solar firms. On January 25, the Court of Appeal upheld his decision. Chris Huhne, the former Energy Secretary, was said to be considering a further appeal, to the Supreme Court, just before he resigned to spend more of his own time in the courts.
This has left the solar industry in limbo, as customers have variously rushed to take advantage of offers before they vanish or stood back to see what happens next. Now that the Government has lost its appeal, there is a further window until March 3 before the feed-in tariff is reduced. Anyone installing a system before then can join existing solar owners in benefiting from the 41p rate.
“It went ballistic before Christmas,” says Andy Tanner, chief executive of Plug Into the Sun, a firm that’s been operating in Penzance for seven years. “Then it was as dead as a doornail. Now it’s gone ballistic again. However, we’re on tenterhooks for February 9.”
That is the date when the Government announces the results of its consultation, including a scantily reported proposal to pay feed-in tariffs only to homes with an energy performance certificate of grade C or above. “That would rule out some 80 per cent of our customers,” says Tanner.
Toby Darbyshire, chief executive of Engensa, which is based in London and made a profit of £2 million on a turnover of £15 million in its first year of trading, has a list of 400 potential customers wondering whether or not to install solar panels.
“There’s a huge amount of uncertainty in the industry at the moment,” he says. “There is real anger about the sledgehammer way this has happened.”
The industry’s beef is not so much with the tariff cut – Engensa had even been lobbying the Government to reduce it, to make the industry more viable in the long term – as with the timing. “It’s left the industry high and dry,” says Derry Newman, chief executive of Solarcentury, one of the firms that took the Government to court. Solarcentury has had to scrap 12 new jobs, each of which had attracted more than 60 applicants. Investor confidence has evaporated, leading the company to cancel a social housing project in Wales. While the hysterical predictions in December of 25,000 job losses haven’t (yet) turned out to be true, some firms have gone bust. “Lots are just hanging on,” says Newman. “The small guys with large bank loans, who don’t have the cash-flow to pay them back.”
Of course, many of us without solar power – but still subsidising it – will wonder just how sympathetic we’re supposed to be. Even with a reduced feed-in tariff, those who can afford the installations will still make more than £600 a year. We’ll still be helping them to recoup their initial investment, albeit in 18 years, instead of 10. As Lord Marland put it this week: “It is already going to cost the consumer £7 billion for £400 million of net present value. This is on a product where you need the electricity when the sun doesn’t shine. It is going to produce 1.1 per cent of our electricity supply, and it doesn’t target the needy and the consumers.”
The response of the solar industry is: bear with us a little longer. According to the Solar Future campaign, costs will come down so much over the next decade that new solar capacity will not have to be subsidised. The total subsidy, it estimates, over the next 30 years will be a maximum of £9 per household.
How green zealots are destroying the planet: The provocative claim from a writer vilified for denying global warming
Just imagine a world where you never had to worry about global warming, where the ice caps, the ‘drowning’ Maldives and the polar bears were all doing just fine.
Imagine a world where CO2 was our friend, fossil fuels were a miracle we should cherish, and economic growth made the planet cleaner, healthier, happier and with more open spaces.
Actually, there’s no need to imagine: it already exists. So why do so many people still believe otherwise?
How come, against so much evidence, everyone from the BBC to your kids’ teachers to the Coalition government (though that may change somewhat now Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has resigned), to the President of the Royal Society to the Prince of Wales continues to pump out the message that man-made ‘climate change’ is a major threat?
Why, when the records show that there has been no global warming since 1997, are we still squandering billions of pounds trying to avert it?
These are some of the questions I set out to answer in my new book — which I can guarantee will not make me popular with environmentalists.
Almost every day, on Twitter or by email, I get violent messages of hate directed not just at me, but even my children. Separately, I’ve been criticised by websites such as the Campaign Against Climate Change (Honorary President: the environmental activist and writer George Monbiot). I’ve had a green activist set up a false website in my name to misdirect my internet traffic. I’ve been vilified everywhere from the Guardian to a BBC Horizon documentary as a wicked ‘denier’ who knows nothing about science.
Not that I’m complaining. Margaret Thatcher once famously said: ‘I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.’ That’s just how I feel about my critics’ ad hominem assaults. They’re born not of strength but out of sheer desperation.
The turning point towards some semblance of sanity in the great climate war came in November 2009 with the leak of the notorious Climategate emails from the University of East Anglia.
What these showed is that the so-called ‘consensus’ science behind Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) — ie the theory that man-made CO2 is causing our planet to heat up in a dangerous, unprecedented fashion — simply cannot be trusted.
The experts had, for years, been twisting the evidence, abusing the scientific process, breaching Freedom of Information requests (by illegally hiding or deleting emails and taxpayer-funded research) and silencing dissent in a way which removes all credibility from the scaremongering reports they write for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
(The IPCC is the heavily politicised but supposedly neutral UN advisory body which has been described by President Obama as the ‘gold standard’ of international climate science.)
Since Climategate, the scientific case against AGW theory has hardened still further. Experiments at the CERN laboratory in Geneva have supported the theory of Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark that the sun — not man-made CO2 — is the biggest driver of climate change.
The latest data released by the Met Office, based on readings from 30,000 measuring stations, confirms there has been no global warming for 15 years.
Now, with sunspot activity (solar flares caused by magnetic activity) at its lowest since the days of the 17th-century frost fairs on the Thames, it seems increasingly likely we are about to enter a new mini Ice Age. Should we be bothered by this? Of course we should. Not only does it mean that for the rest of our lives we’re likely to be doomed to experience colder winters and duller summers, but it also makes us victims of perhaps the most expensive fraud in history.
Over the past 20 years, across the Western world, billions of pounds, dollars and euros have been squandered by governments on hare-brained schemes to ‘combat climate change’.
Taxes have been raised, regulations increased, flights made more expensive, incandescent light bulbs banned, landscapes despoiled by ugly, bird-chomping wind farms, economic growth curtailed — all to deal with what now turns out to have been a non-existent problem: man-made CO2.
But if anthropogenic warming is not the threat environmentalists would have us believe, why do so many people believe it is? And how come so many disparate groups — from the hair-shirt anti-capitalist activists of Greenpeace and Friends Of The Earth to the executives of big corporations, to politicians of every hue from Gordon Brown to David Cameron to scientists at NASA and the UEA — are working together to promote this pernicious myth?
The short answer is ‘follow the money’.
Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the UEA which was at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ scandal, for example, was given £13.7 million in grants for his department’s research work; the environmental non-governmental organisations such as Greenpeace came on board because scaremongering helps them raise revenue.
You’re not going to give money to the charity’s Project Thin Ice if you think the polar bear is good for another 10,000 years, but you might if you’re told it’s seriously endangered.
Politicians were attracted because it was a good way of being seen to be addressing an issue of popular concern, and a handy excuse to put up taxes.
Big corporations joined in the scam as a) it enabled them to ‘greenwash’ their image through campaigns like BP’s ‘Beyond Petroleum’ and b) it meant all that extra environmental regulation would be a handy way of pricing their smaller competitors out of the market place.
But money isn’t the only reason. If you read the private emails of the Climategate scientists, what you discover is that most of them genuinely believe in the climate change peril.
That’s why they lied about the evidence and why they tried to destroy the careers of those scientists who disagreed with them: because they wanted to scare politicians into action before time ran out. This was not science, in other words, but political activism.
A similar ‘end justifies the means’ mentality seems to prevail among all those environmental lobby groups. They don’t exaggerate or misrepresent because they’re bad people. They do it, as a former head of Greenpeace once charmingly put it when accused of having overstated the decline in Arctic sea ice, to ‘emotionalise the issue’; because they want to make the rest of the world care about these issues as much as they do.
Powerful feelings, though, are hardly the most sensible basis for global policy. Especially not when, as it turns out, they are based on a misreading of the facts.
One of the grimmest ironies of the modern environmental movement is just how much damage it has done to the planet in the name of ‘saving’ it. Green biofuels (crops such as palm oil grown for fuel) have not only led to the destruction of millions of acres of rainforest in Asia, Africa and South America, but are now known to produce four times more CO2 pollution than fossil fuels.
Wind farms, besides blighting views, destroying topsoil and causing massive noise pollution, kill around 400,000 birds a year in the U.S. alone. Environmentalists, in fact, have a disastrous track record when it comes to predictions and policy recommendations. Rachel Carson’s 1962 bestseller Silent Spring — which promised a cancer epidemic from pesticides — led to a near worldwide ban on the malarial pesticide DDT, thus condemning millions in the Third World to die from malaria.
Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb, meanwhile, rehearsed another of the green movement’s favourite themes: overpopulation. By the Seventies and Eighties, he warned, hundreds of millions of us would be dying like flies because there wouldn’t be enough food.
Why did Ehrlich’s prediction never come to pass? Because, like most of the greenies’ doomsday scenarios, it overlooked one vital factor: progress.
Because the green movement has for years been ideologically wedded to the notion that mankind is an ecological curse (‘The Earth has a cancer. The cancer is man’, as a global think tank called The Club of Rome, which includes several current and former heads of state, puts it), it fails to understand the role which technology, human ingenuity and adaption play in our species’ survival.
Ehrlich’s population disaster was averted thanks to a brilliant American scientist called Norman Borlaug who devised new mutant strains of wheat which managed to treble cereal production on the starving Indian subcontinent.
Of course, there is still widespread concern over the use of genetically modified crops, but scientists argue that with proper safeguards in place they can actually be more environmentally friendly than conventional crops, using less water and fewer pesticides.
Similar technological advances in the field of energy make a nonsense of environmentalists’ claims that we are running out of fuel: long before coal ran out came the petroleum revolution; and, though we still have plenty of oil left, we now have the miracle of shale gas which lies in abundance everywhere from Blackpool to the North Sea, and is released using blasts of high-pressure liquid to open pockets of gas in rock.
When, many decades hence, that runs out we will start to harvest clathrates (solid methane deposits) buried on the ocean floor.
Economic progress is not our enemy but our friend. It is an historical fact that the richer nations are, the more money they have to spare on ensuring a cleaner environment: compare the relatively clean air in London to the choking smog that envelops Beijing and Delhi; look at where the worst ecological disasters happened in the last century — under impoverished Communist regimes, from the Aral Sea to Chernobyl.
But the greens refuse to accept this because, according to their quasi-religious doctrine, industrial civilisation is a curse and economic growth a disease which can only be cured by rationing and self-sacrifice, higher taxes and greater state control.
That’s why I call my new book Watermelons — because it’s about zealots who are green on the outside, but in political terms, red on the inside. If only their views weren’t so influential, in schools, universities, in the media, in the corridors of power, the global economy wouldn’t be nearly in the mess it’s in today.
As someone who loves long walks in unspoilt countryside and who wants a brighter future for his children, I’m sickened by the way environmental activists tar anyone who disagrees with them as a selfish, polluting, anti-science ‘denier’.
The real deniers are those ideological greens who refuse to look at hard evidence (not just pie-in-the-sky computer models which are no more accurate than the suspect data fed into them) and won’t accept that their well-intentioned schemes to make our world a better place are in fact making it uglier, poorer and less free.
Child’s right to see an absent father: New British law to help millions from broken homes
Already in place in Australia
Millions of children from broken homes are to be granted new rights to a ‘full and continuing relationship’ with both their parents.
The move is designed to ensure that the parent who leaves the family home – most commonly the father – cannot be cut out of their children’s lives following an acrimonious separation.
Ministers have decided that a change in the law is vital in the face of heartbreaking evidence that huge numbers of youngsters whose families split up lose contact with one parent for ever.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke have been at odds over the proposals
Courts will be put under a duty to ensure that unless their welfare is threatened by staying in touch with either their mother or father, children have an ‘equal right to a proper relationship with both’.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg have dismissed objections from Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke and overturned the findings of a major review of family law which was published last year.
On Monday, the Government will announce a ministerial working group that will draw up radical changes to the 1989 Children Act.
The Act states that the child’s needs come first in law courts, but campaigners for fathers’ rights complain that judges repeatedly pander to the idea that mothers are ‘more important’ than fathers.
Unmarried fathers say they are often at a particular disadvantage, having to apply for a ‘parental responsibility order’ through a court or have one granted through an agreement with the mother.
‘The Act is going to be rewritten,’ said a Government source. ‘The welfare of children must of course remain paramount – but alongside that there will be an equal right for a child to have a proper relationship with both parents.
Children’s Minister Tim Loughton said courts are ‘rarely the best place’ for resolving conflicts between parents about the care of children
‘There should be no inbuilt legal bias towards the father or mother, and where there are no welfare issues, we want to see this principle reinforced through law.
‘This is about children. We want to be clear that both parents should have a full and continuing role in their children’s life after a separation.’
Ministers will pledge £10million for mediation services to encourage more couples to settle their disputes out of court.
Children’s Minister Tim Loughton told the Mail: ‘The courts are rarely the best place for resolving private disputes about the care of children. That’s why we want to see greater use of mediation to solve parental disputes out of court.
Betrayal of the family
‘It is also right that we continue to encourage fathers to take responsibility as equal parents and to be fully involved with their children from the outset.’
The decision overturns the main finding of a family justice review, conducted for the Ministry of Justice by businessman David Norgrove, which was published in November.
It concluded that giving fathers shared or equal time, or even the right to maintain a meaningful relationship with their children, ‘would do more harm than good’.
The proposals immediately sparked a Cabinet revolt, led by Mr Duncan Smith and Mr Clegg, who insisted that the law must be amended to strengthen fathers’ rights.
Official figures show that one in five children from broken homes lose touch with their absent parent, usually their father, within three years and never see them again.