Fathers' rights group in election pledge


CAMPAIGN group Fathers 4 Justice (F4J) has announced plans to stand in the next general election and believes it could even take a number of marginal seats from the Labour Government.

The group's Suffolk-based leader Matt O'Connor says its campaign has made father's rights one of the most sensitive issues on the political agenda and believes it is time for the group to capitalize on its widespread support.

F4J says its campaign is about to become highly politicized by targeting the Labour Party rather than the Family Justice system, and that a 'major stunt' is planned for the party's conference season.

Publicity materials and posters carrying slogans such as “Labour Hurts Families” and “Who will you choose? Your Children or Tony Blair?” will be used by F4J in the battle for votes.

Co-ordinator Gary Burch said he had informed at least one major political party that the group were considering the possibility of around 200 candidates standing at the next election, subject to the results of a feasibility study being undertaken this summer.

The announcement was made after Michael Howard again stressed this week the Conservative's commitment to a “strong presumption to equal parenting”.

Ongoing protests by the group this summer have caused massive disruption to the family justice system, with as many as 100 courts and solicitors' buildings being simultaneously affected on a single day.

Roof top protests on court buildings have become a weekly feature of the campaign as the organisation created another 10 local groups, bringing the national number to over 40.

Mr O'Connor said: “We believe we enjoy massive public support and can bring the votes of thousands of our members and their relatives to bear in marginal constituencies.

“The battle for our children will be the battle of the next election and our campaign is shifting gear into pursuing a highly charged and controversial political campaign."

“We have catapulted the issue onto the political agenda and we must now throw the weight of our machine into influencing the outcome of the next election.

“May 2005 will be a pivotal time in our three-year campaign. Whatever happens then will dictate whether we have been successful in bringing around meaningful change for the 40,000 children every year who lose partial or total contact with their fathers under this government. We simply can't afford to fail.”