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Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 14:36 GMT
MP attacks Tory adoption stance
Liberal Democrat health spokesman and  MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, Dr Evan Harris
Dr Evan Harris: episode has "shattered" the Tory myth
An Oxfordshire MP has attacked the Conservative Party over its attitude towards allowing unmarried and same-sex couples to adopt.

The controversial legislation completed its progress through Parliament on Tuesday.

But opponents of the bill were hoping the House of Lords would block the measure.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman and MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, Dr Evan Harris, said Tory pronouncements showed the party was failing to modernise.

'Respect couples'

He said: "The House of Lords has found the attitude of Iain Duncan Smith's Conservative Party beyond the pale.

"The whole episode shatters the myth perpetrated by the Conservatives that they are in any way a more moderate group than in the Hague 'bandwagon' era."

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Richard Harries
Bishop of Oxford: "We must respect some people's objection"

The House of Lords voted by 215 to 184 to give unmarried and same-sex couples the right to adopt - a majority of 31.

Speaking in the Lords, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Richard Harries, said peers should respect those couples who wanted children, but did not wish to marry.

He said: "There are some couples who have perhaps been seared by the break-up of their own parents' marriage, shattered by the break-up of their friends' marriage.

"And they honestly believe that their relationship is more likely to last if they don't commit themselves to marriage."

The Bishop added: "We have to respect the conscientious objection of certain people to marriage."


Click here to go to Oxford
See also:

05 Nov 02 | Politics
05 Nov 02 | Politics
05 Nov 02 | Politics
04 Nov 02 | Politics
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