A schoolboy aged 13 has become one of Britain’s youngest fathers after his 16-year-old girlfriend gave birth this week.
The boy’s father said his son was “chuffed to bits” and “taking his responsibilities very seriously”.
The case is likely to reignite national debate surrounding Britain’s teenage pregnancy rate and the sexualisation of young teenagers.
The young couple from Manchester cannot be identified for legal reasons but the boy’s father has spoken to the press.
He said: “She thought he was much older than he was and I think he even lied about his age at first, like lads do.
“They didn’t go to the same school but they have been together for ages and they are in love.
“He isn’t bewildered about what has happened. He was a bit shocked at first but now he’s chuffed to bits.”
The boy is reportedly planning to quit school and work full-time to support the mother and child.
His father, who is separated from his mother, insisted: “My son is mature for his age and will make a good father. He will make a better dad than most 25-year-old men would.
“He is taking his responsibilities very seriously. He went to all the ante-natal classes and did what any expectant father would do.”
The case will intensify criticism of the Government’s multi-million pound Teenage Pregnancy Strategy.
The strategy was supposed to cut teen conceptions in half by 2010, but is likely to fall desperately short of this target.
Teenage pregnancy rates in England and Wales rose in 2007, with 41.9 girls per 1,000 aged 15 to 17 becoming pregnant, compared with 40.9 in 2006.
Among girls aged 13 to 15 the rate rose from 7.8 per 1,000 girls to 8.3. Around 8,196 girls aged under 16 became pregnant in 2007.
Critics say this failure shows that handing out contraceptives and information about sex to young people is not working.
Earlier this year another 13 year-old, Alfie Patten from East Sussex, made national headlines when his 15 year-old girlfriend gave birth.
However, DNA tests subsequently proved that another 15-year-old was the father.
Last month the BBC broadcast a radio show featuring an academic’s plea for the age of consent to be lowered to 13 so that young teenagers are free to have sex.
Professor John Spencer set out his views on the Radio 4 programme Iconoclasts, before answering challenges from a panel.