§ Tim Loughton
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what assessment he has made of whether a legal presumption of contact as a principle to the consideration of contact and residence disputes would generally be in the best interests of the child; 
(2) what assessment he has made of whether a legal presumption of contact would contradict the best interest principle of the Children Act 1989. 
§ Margaret Hodge
I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave on 5 January 2004,Official Report, column 67W. The Government support the view that, in general, children benefit from a continuing relationship with both parents following parental separation, where it is in the best interests of the child and safe for all family members. The fundamental principle of the Children Act 1989 is thatthe child's welfare shall be the court's paramount consideration".
There is no automatic "right" to contact for either fathers or mothers, but in practice the courts have taken the view that, in most cases, the child's welfare is best served by contact with both parents.