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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 May 2006, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Fathers' group 'back in action'
A protester

Campaign group Fathers 4 Justice has confirmed that it has reformed following its protest stunt on the BBC's National Lottery Show.

Founder Matt O'Conner said the organisation was "back in business" after it disbanded in January.

He added that the focus had now changed to a campaign for a more open family court system, on behalf of all parents.

The group split earlier this year after reports linked it to a plan to kidnap Tony Blair's son.

A spokesman for the group, Guy Harrison, said they had no choice but to reform.

We are back in business, we are back in action and out to finish what we started three years ago
Matt O'Connor

"We don't seem to be able to talk to politicians to see that justice has been done, so we are returning to our attention-seeking stunts," he said.

Saturday saw protesters from the group invade the BBC's National Lottery show, make their way onto the set and chant slogans.

Protester Ray Barry, from Wolverhampton, defended his actions on the BBC National Lottery Show.

"Because the family law system encourages one parent, usually the father, to be eliminated from the lives of the children following separation, one in four children in this country now have no meaningful relationship with their own father.

"This must change. The reason for protesting at the lotto draw? Next time, it could be you."

'Women involved'

Mr O'Connor, who has now taken a more behind-the-scenes role in the organisation as a media adviser, said this was the first in a series of events - but that the revival of stunts involving members dressed as superheroes was not on the agenda.

"We are back in business, we are back in action and out to finish what we started three years ago.

"We're not going back to superheroes - we want to do something new, professional and dynamic."

He added that Fathers 4 Justice now "wanted to mature the debate" by "campaigning for a more open family court".

"We want to broaden it out to all parents, plus also people who've had their children taken away from them, like Sally Clarke and Trupti Patel," he told the BBC News website.

"You are going to see a lot more women involved," he added.

Mr Harrison said the group "couldn't carry on the way it was" after the kidnap allegations were made in January.

"The group was disbanded because of the absolute despair we suffered because of the kidnapping rumours, which were completely unfounded," he told the BBC News website.

He said the group structure had now changed, so that only four people would speak on behalf of Fathers 4 Justice, to avoid "anything sexist or racist" being affiliated to the group.


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