- The Labour MP said big issues facing society ‘stem from family breakdown’
- Added that ‘some kind of stable family structure is vital’ and what most want
- Her intervention echoes the views of Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith
Feminism is partly to blame for the breakdown of the family, one of Labour’s most senior female politicians has said.
Diane Abbott, the party’s public health spokesman, said that major issues facing society ‘stem from family breakdown’.
And in a surprise admission from one of the Left’s most outspoken feminists, she conceded that women’s rights campaigners have neglected the family.
Miss Abbott, a divorced mother with one son, also highlighted the harmful impact on society of internet pornography and fast food.
Perhaps most surprising, however, is her argument that Left-wingers and feminists should make family breakdown a key battleground rather than leave the issue to Conservatives.
In an interview with The Guardian, she said: ‘Those of us who came of age at the height of feminism had very mixed views about the family, since it seemed to be defined as a heterosexual thing with a certificate, children and mum at home.’
But she said the Left had to recognise that ‘some of the biggest public health issues stem from family breakdown’, explaining: ‘Doctors say to me that so many of the drug and alcohol problems they see stem from family difficulties.’
In a nod to Labour orthodoxy, Miss Abbott said: ‘When I talk about stable families, I do not only mean the heterosexual, 2.1-children set-up, but also extended families or same-sex relationships.’
But she added: ‘I still believe some kind of stable family structure is vital and that is what most people want around them. I do not think we should abandon that terrain to the Right.’
Miss Abbott’s intervention is remarkable since it echoes the views of Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.
Miss Abbott, who stood for the Labour leadership in 2010, said local authorities should have stronger powers to ban the spread of fried chicken shops and other fast food outlets, adding: ‘For too many children, fast food is not a treat but a dietary staple.’
Miss Abbott also threw her support behind Tory MP Claire Perry’s crusade to introduce controls on viewing internet pornography.
‘Children very young, ten or 11, can go online and see stuff they could not have bought in a newsagent 20 years ago,’ she said. ‘This crude pornification is new, and leads to the objectification of the human body, especially girls’ bodies.’
Miss Abbott also said she had come to support school uniforms – traditionally opposed by the Left – to combat the modern obsession with designer brands. She said: ‘There are these young mums that do not necessarily read to their children, they do not take them to the library, but they think they are good mums because their children are dressed in brand names from top to bottom.’