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Family Relationships, Parenting and Marriage

Volume 705: debated on Thursday 9 December 2021

The Church of England places a high value on the covenant of marriage and does all it can to support families and parents. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York want to strengthen family life further and have set up a commission to examine what more the Church can do to achieve that.

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. I also thank my local vicar, Michael Brown, who came to Westminster to play an active role in my own wedding, for all he does in the parish. What more can we do, as politicians, to recognise these often unsung heroes of our communities?

I am sure we would all like to congratulate my hon. Friend on her wedding. I am delighted to learn about the support that Rev. Michael Brown gave to her for her wedding and about all the good work that he does in his parish. It gives me, and probably all of us, enormous pleasure to pay tribute to Rev. Brown and indeed to all our parish priests who work tirelessly to show the love of Christ to their parishioners.

Having been married for 34 years, I understand the importance of marriage and relationships that last. With that in mind, can I ask the hon. Gentleman what has been done to ensure that, where there are difficulties in marriages—and that happens—and difficulties perhaps in looking after children, the Churches can work with Relate and other organisations to ensure that marriages can last beyond for the years to come?

I think we can do something even before that, because I am very keen on marriage enrichment as well, and I think that the Church can do more to prevent marriages from coming into difficulty in the first place. My hon. Friend is absolutely right, it is a very important role for the Church to play when marriages do run into trouble, and that is what the Archbishop’s joint family and household commission is also looking at.