Britain’s anti-family revolution will continue under its new government

The problems plaguing British society are so deep and so widespread that it is beyond the ability of politics to remedy them. Unfortunately, politicians are quite capable of making them worse. The unexpected scale of the Labour Party’s triumph in last week’s general election1 may appear to be the result of a seismic shift in the political landscape, but the true story is one of continuity, not radical change.

Many commentators have drawn parallels between Keir Starmer’s victory on 4 July and Tony Blair’s arrival in Downing Street in 1997. Like Blair, Starmer is leading his party into office after a long period in opposition and both are credited with realigning its policies. But whereas Blair’s assumption of power after nineteen years of Conservative rule marked a radical development in British society, the same cannot be said about Starmer. By the time Blair’s successor, Gordon Brown, was defeated in 2010, the Labour Party had reconfigured the UK constitution through its devolution of powers to Scotland and Wales, while its ill-conceived reforms left the House of Lords languishing in an ambiguous hybrid existence. Labour’s legislative agenda included the Human Rights Act 1998, the Civil Partnership Act 2004, which gave legal recognition to homosexual unions, and the Equality Act 2010 which requires public bodies to show special consideration to groups and individuals with protected characteristics including sexual orientation. 

However, the incoming Tory Party not only maintained Blair’s legacy, but successive Conservative Prime Ministers built upon it. In 2013, David Cameron pushed through the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act and, in 2019, Theresa May and Boris Johnson imposed the decriminalisation of abortion on Northern Ireland. Abortion without an in-person consultation was introduced in March 2020 by Boris Johnson’s government, as a temporary measure to deal with covid restrictions, only to be made permanent in August 2022. Tory governments mandated the introduction of sex education to all secondary schools in England and have overseen record levels of abortion, with over a quarter of a million in 2022. And, although an increasing number of these take place outside a clinical setting, pro-life prayer vigils near abortion centres are now illegal. 

While some of these changes, such as the ban on prayer vigils, were never official Tory policy, the UK’s Constitution allows the party that commands a majority in the House of Commons to exercise its legal powers free from any limitation. If it wishes, the ruling party can behave as an “elective dictatorship on the former Eastern European model.”2 Successive Conservative governments, therefore, sometimes encouraged and sometimes facilitated the passage of anti-family and anti-life legislation.

Another area in which Tony Blair’s revolution was consolidated under Conservative rule is end-of-life care. In 2005, the Mental Capacity Act essentially codified the 1993 judgment of the House of Lords in the case of Tony Bland, which allowed doctors to bring about the death of patients in a so-called persistent vegetative state (PVS) by withdrawing hydration and nutrition, provided that they judged it to be in the patient’s “best interests”. Since then, the British medical profession has replaced the PVS label with prolonged disorders of consciousness (PDOC). This is a much broader term and means that, after one month, patients who remain in an unresponsive state can be denied food and fluids with the intention of ending their lives. This is now common practice in the National Health Service, even though euthanasia is against the law. That law, however, may be set to change under the new Labour government.

Before Keir Starmer became an MP, he was the Director of Public Prosecutions and it was in that role that, in February 2010, he issued guidance outlining the circumstances in which the offence of assisting a suicide would not be prosecuted. Effectively, this was guidance on how to circumvent the provisions of the Suicide Act 1961. Since then, Starmer has made no secret of his support for the legalisation of assisted suicide and, while no commitment on this issue appeared in Labour’s manifesto, the danger that the Starmer government will bring forward legislation remains a major concern for the pro-life movement.  

Having succeeded in winning 411 seats, the Labour Party has a majority of 172 MPs. However, this does not reflect Labour’s popular support. One of the anomalies of the first-past-the-post voting system used in UK parliamentary elections is that it sometimes results in awarding seats to larger parties at the expense of smaller ones and this proved to be the case in the 2024 general election. While Labour has 64 per cent of seats in the House of Commons, it only won 34 per cent of the vote. The new government cannot therefore count on the support of the majority of the British electorate. While this is unlikely to restrain Starmer from implementing his agenda, it means that his position in the next election may not be as unassailable as it first seems. Labour’s electoral prospects largely depend on whether the opposition parties can present a coherent alternative to Starmer’s programme for government and organise a successful strategy that will maximise the number of MPs returned by the first-past-the-post system next time around.

One of the most frequently cited reasons given for the voters’ rejection of the Conservative Party, just five years after they gave it an 80-seat majority, was that it offered little that distinguished it from Labour. In other words, the party pursued broadly the same trajectory as that laid down by Tony Blair’s revolution in 1997. As with every revolution, it is the innocent who are most likely to suffer and the policies championed by Blair have had a devastating effect on family life.  

More than 9 in 10 British couples who married in 2021 or 2022 were cohabitating prior to marriage; the highest rate since this statistic was first recorded in 1994. In 2010, 46.8 per cent of babies born in England and Wales were registered to women outside of marriage.3 In 2022, this figure had risen to 51.4 per cent.4

Progressively radical sex education has also had the effect of sexualising children at increasingly young ages, leaving them more vulnerable to abuse5 and exploitation not just by adults, but at the hands of other children as well. On 15 January 2024, a report into Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in England and Wales revealed the scale of the horror. The data published by the National Police Chief’s Council showed that in 2022, 52 per cent of all cases of child abuse and sexual exploitation “involved reports of children (aged ten to seventeen) offending against other children, with fourteen being the most common age.” The report noted, “This is a growing and concerning trend involving a wide range of offending. Whilst some include exploratory online sexual behaviours, some of the most prevalent forms include serious sexual assaults, including rape.”

According to research carried out by Statista, approximately 11 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds identify as “gay, lesbian, bisexual” or “other”,6 significantly higher than the 3.2 per cent of the total population aged 16 and over recorded in the 2021 census for England and Wales.7

Data shows that, by every metric, children raised in a stable married family are healthier, more academically successful and materially better off. Family breakdown, on the other hand, results in major social problems such as substance abuse and homelessness. Nevertheless, every mainstream political party in Britain (with the possible exception of Reform, which seems to lack a coherent social policy) is committed to a radical agenda that views the stable married family as its ideological enemy.

Of course, these problems are not limited to the United Kingdom. In fact, many policies adopted at the international level have added to the pressures on family life across much of the globe. It is unlikely that this is merely a coincidence. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson refused to provide famine relief to India unless its government agreed to promote population control through mass sterilisation.8 However, Kingsley Davis, the prominent American eugenicist, concluded that such policies would not be sufficient to reduce the birth rate to the extent he believed was necessary. In 1967 he wrote:

“It follows that, in countries where contraception is used, a realistic proposal for a government policy of lowering the birth rate reads like a catalogue of horrors: squeeze consumers through taxation and inflation; make housing very scarce by limiting construction; force wives and mothers to work outside the home to offset the inadequacy of male wages, yet provide few child care facilities; encourage migration to the cities by paying low wages in the country and providing few rural jobs; increase congestion in the cities by starving the transit system; increase personal insecurity by encouraging conditions that produce unemployment and by haphazard political arrests.”9

The scenario Davis depicts would be easily recognisable to most people living today in the Western world. The pursuit of the so-called green agenda — net zero emissions, the radical reduction in livestock and the construction of solar panels and wind turbines on prime agricultural land — will add to the hardships already faced by families. While the mainstream political parties may disagree over free trade or the appropriate level of taxation, there is a broad consensus regarding the policies that undermine family life. Politics cannot provide a solution to the problems facing the family in Britain or across the globe. The future of the world and of the Church passes through the family.10 If Christian civilisation is to be rebuilt, it will be by the family, through the family and for the family.


  1. Labour topped the polls in 411 constituencies and gained over 200 seats despite seeing only a modest increase in its share of the vote, around 34 per cent. The Conservatives saw their vote share drop by 20 points to 24 per cent losing the party 251 seats. Reform ended in third place with a 14 per cent share of the vote but returned just five MPs. The Liberal Democrats received 12 per cent of the vote share and took 72 seats. The Greens won 4 seats with 7 per cent of the vote. ↩︎
  2. Quintin Hogg, Lord Hailsham, A Sparrow’s Flight, The Memoirs of Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone (William Collins Sons & Co Ltd, 1990), p 249. ↩︎
  3. Office of National Statistics, Births in England and Wales: 2022. ↩︎
  4. Birth summary tables, England and Wales 2010, Summary of key live birth statistics, 1938–2010, Table 1. ↩︎
  5. National Police Chief’s Council, “Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Analysis Launched”, 15 Jan 2024. ↩︎
  6. Sexual identity of people in the UK 2022, by age Published by Statista Research Department, 3 July 2024. ↩︎
  7. Office for National Statistics. Sexual orientation, England and Wales: Census 2021. ↩︎
  8. Matthew Connelly, “Controlling Passions”, The Wilson Quarterly [2008], pp 60–7, 62. India was already committed to population control but, under US pressure, it agreed to begin paying incentives to those who accepted sterilisation or IUDs. ↩︎
  9. Kingsley Davis, “Population Policy: Will Current Programs Succeed?” Science, [1967] 158, 3802, 730–739, p 739. ↩︎
  10. John Paul II, Address to the Confederation of Family Advisory Bureaus of Christian Inspiration, 29 Nov 1980, 3–4: Insegnamenti III, 2 (1980), 1453–1454. ↩︎