HC Deb 23 October 2001 vol 373 c201W
Mr. John Taylor

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will review the Children Act 1989 to grant automatic parental responsibility status to unmarried fathers; and if she will make a statement. [8683]

Ms Rosie Winterton

The Government recognise the wide range of relationships outside marriage and that increasing numbers of children are being born to unmarried couples. The Adoption and Children Bill, as drafted, introduced on 19 October 2001, will have the effect of amending the Children Act to allow unmarried fathers who jointly register a child's birth with the mother to acquire parental responsibility without further formality. The new provisions will not apply retrospectively. Information will be made available to assist parents to understand the implications of joint registration.