Two Scottish Bishops have called for fathers to be allowed to play a full role in raising their children after couples separate. In unprecedented letters to the Equal Parenting Alliance party, Bishop Murray of Argyll and the Isles wrote: “You make a good case for the rights of fathers in the case where parents separate,” while Archbishop Conti of Glasgow wrote: “I share your concerns..and I regret not making the points you and your party present.”
The EPA’s candidate for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley, Ray Barry, spoke of his delight that the Bishops have chosen to voice their concerns. “This is, after all, as much a moral as a political matter.” he said “It is not just the law that needs changing; it is attitudes as well, and church leaders have a vital role to play in this.”
The EPA claims on its website that a quarter of Scotland’s children now grow up without their father’s influence, and that this group is responsible for 70% of youth crime. “This has come up on us all by stealth.” said Mr Barry. “Why have we all grown to accept that most children will have no involvement with their fathers and paternal grandparents after separation?”
Immigrants from Eastern Europe, especially Poland, have been particularly affected, according to Mr Barry. “I know of recent cases where Polish building workers have been denied contact with their children, for no apparent reason, after their wives left them. The rest of us have all got used to this over time, but it comes as a real culture shock to these Polish dads to find that they have virtually no right under Scottish law to even see their own children.”
“I hope that more church and community leaders follow the example of these courageous Bishops, and begin to speak out on this important moral issue.”
The Equal Parenting Alliance is a new UK political party, formed in February 2006. We aim to promote a system of family justice in the UK that puts the needs and interests of children first.
It is fighting its first two seats on 3rd May 2007, at Carrick Cumnock and Doon Valley in the Scottish Parliamentary election, and at Runnymede in the English Local Government elections.