A Top Tory has slammed his own party’s ‘immoral’ plans for no fault divorce.
Lord Farmer, who converted to Christianity when he was 35, said that changing the rules would lead to more family breakdown.
He told a fringe event at Conservative Party Conference: “Making marriage easier to exit and sanitising divorce may make it less painful to the adults involved but it is far more likely to weaken the institute of marriage than strengthen it.”
He said that marriage would become “more like cohabitation with its assumption that a couple need only stay together while it works for both of them.”
Lord Farmer, a businessman and life peer, warned about the harmful impact of divorce on children.
He asked: “Why are we talking about making it less painful and easier for them (the adults) to rip apart the foundations of their children’s world when the 1989 children’s act established the principle that the interests of children should always be paramount?”
The peer, who is a former Treasurer of the Tory party, told the meeting which also featured an introduction by Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “Support for no fault divorce is lacking in morality – it is certainly not compassionate.”
The Justice Secretary has recently confirmed the government will begin a consultation on introducing “no-fault” divorces.
David Gauke has previously said the current system created “unnecessary antagonism” and there was a “strong” case for reform.
Under the current law, anyone seeking a divorce must either prove their partner is at fault or, if their spouse agrees, must be separated for a two-year period.
Only adultery, desertion or unreasonable behaviour are considered “faults”.
In cases where consent is not given, applicants who have no evidence of fault must be separated for five years.
While family lawyers say the change would be a “landmark moment” for divorce law and it would make a legal system “fit for the modern age”.
Lord Farmer also made the case for more couples to stay together despite domestic abuse.
Attacking those he sees as challenging marriage and the family, he said they argue “that it’s potentially very harmful for women to be dependent on men who might be abusive if they are to make ends meet. This of course is true.
“It’s also potentially harmful for men, women children and society if men become surplus to requirement.”
He praised the work of organisations which help women to remain in their own homes.
He singled out : “Glamorgan Women’s Aid now known as Safety in the Vales which acknowledges that while all violence must stop some relationships can be saved by working with the whole family, victims, perpetrators, traumatised children to help the root causes of violence and its effects.”
He praised the work of the charity saying that it had saved the council money and that the approach was a “no brainer”.
“In the first trial period of that charity they spend £186,000 on entering into families where there was what we call ‘situational violence’ maybe they were tired, drinking too much and the couple fought each other and within a year the council had reckoned that that charity working to prevent family breakdown had saved the council £2m. It’s a no brainer.”
In a wide-ranging speech the peer called for a specific minister for families.
And he warned about the disadvantages faced by unmarried men.