Intense lobbying over Family Law Bill

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The Independent Online
There was intense lobbying over the Family Law Bill last night. The Government has launched an intensive behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to unpick a key change forced on it during the Commons Committee Stage, which would delay many divorces for at least 21 months. Family lawyers have warned that such a delay could damage the chances of reconciliation or satisfactory arrangements over children as much as the present "quickie" divorce.

Tory MPs are to be given a free vote on an amendment to be tabled by a backbencher for the combined Report Stage and Third Reading on Monday night, but ministers insist that the committee's addition of a three-month "quarantine" period before the divorce process could start is at odds with April's vote when a majority of MPs backed an 18-month period of "reflection and consideration". The Shadow Cabinet was last night deciding whether to kill the Bill by voting with Tory right-wing rebels. A Labour leadership source said: "The Bill is deeply flawed as it stands. If we were to contemplate supporting it, there would have to be considerable amendments to the report stage and we don't anticipate those."