Tories say no to married rights for live-in couples

The Conservative Party has signalled that it will continue to support the institution of marriage by not giving cohabiting couples the same rights as married couples.

A source close to David Cameron distanced the Party from comments made earlier this week by Henry Bellingham, the Shadow Justice Minister, who voiced his support for increasing the rights of cohabiting couples.

Reacting to Mr Bellingham’s comments, the source said: “This is not the direction we are moving in”.

He added: “Henry spoke out of turn.”

The idea of giving live-in couples the same rights as married couples sparked a backlash from traditionalists.

David Willetts MP, who is in charge of family policy for the Tories, said: “We are conducting a review of family law and no decisions have been taken.”

A shadow minister on the traditional wing of the Tory Party said: “This cuts across everything David Cameron has been saying about putting marriage back at the heart of society.”

In October the Law Commission proposed that partners who have lived together for five years should have the same legal rights as a husband or wife.

The Commission also said that those who have lived together for between two and five years should be entitled to half of the settlement that a spouse would receive in the event of a split.

Labour is expected to bring in the proposals if it wins a fourth term in office.

Last week Baroness Deech attacked the plans labelling them a “windfall for lawyers but for no one else except the gold digger”.

Speaking in her capacity as Professor of Law at Gresham College Baroness Deech said that in America there had been “a retreat from legal recognition of cohabitation as the values of marriage have become recognised once more”.

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