A former Labour Government minister has spoken out about Britain’s ‘national catastrophe’ – its ‘army’ of teenage mothers living on benefits. Writing on his internet blog, Tom Harris MP also accused the Government of lacking moral leadership.
Mr Harris anticipated his readers’ shock at a Labour MP speaking so forthrightly on a topic considered largely taboo within the party. ‘But’, he wrote, ‘I can no longer pretend that the army of teenage mothers living off the state is anything other than a national catastrophe’.
Quoted by the Christian Institute, the Glasgow South MP identified a lack of moral leadership from the Government as the key reason why so many young girls get pregnant and succumb to benefit dependency, often following the example set in their own families.
Mr Harris said that effective Government policies were needed, but that ‘policies are one thing; winning the argument about why they’re needed is another. And we have to start by making it clear what we believe is right and wrong. How can we expect parents to teach that to their kids if our political leaders aren’t prepared to say the same?’
He also wrote: ‘There is right and wrong and it is wrong for anyone to choose to have a child without knowing what’s involved in its upbringing, without being prepared to sacrifice your own lifestyle for it’.
He continued: ‘People shouldn’t be ashamed of their circumstances, but neither should we avoid making value judgments about others’ choices, especially when those choices result in a greater burden on the state, and lead to the continuation of the underclass.
Right and wrong
‘Teenage girls shouldn’t be having underage sex. Why? Because it’s wrong.
‘Teenage girls shouldn’t choose to have babies as an alternative to getting an education and a career. Why? Because it’s wrong.
‘Parents shouldn’t teach their children that a lifetime on benefits is attractive or even acceptable. Why? Because it’s wrong’.
Mr Harris’s comments come as the Government is advising parents to avoid telling their children what is ‘right and wrong’ when discussing sex education. In a new Government leaflet to be distributed through pharmacies from this month, children’s minister Beverley Hughes says that taking a moral tone could discourage children from being ‘open’ about sex.
‘Discussing your values with your teenagers will help them to form their own’, it says. ‘Remember, though, that trying to convince them of what’s right and wrong may discourage them from being open’.
The Bible makes it clear that every father has the clear responsibility to love his wife and children and teach them the ways of the Lord and the gospel (Ephesians 5-6).