Conservative former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has described unmarried men as "a problem for society" and implicitly criticised couples who choose to cohabit instead of getting married.
Speaking at an event at the party's conference in Manchester, Duncan Smith said that "cohabitation is a very different relationship from marriage" and is "inherently unstable". He blamed the decline in marriage for high levels of addiction, debt, crime and other "dysfunctional behaviour" by unmarried men.
I suspect that most family lawyers will, like me, find Duncan Smith's comments completely absurd, and his view is simply not supported by the available evidence. In any event, he will be battling against the tide in seeking to promote marriage, which continues to decline as cohabitation becomes more and more widespread and campaigns for cohabitees to have greater legal rights gather momentum. He has also been rightly slammed by feminist commentators for implying that a woman's main role within a relationship is to improve, stabilise and regulate her partner's behaviour!
Unmarried Men Are ‘A Problem’ For Society, Says Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith