One of the few traditional Conservatives to have served on the Tory front bench under Cameron, Paterson was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland before being promoted to the more high profile role of Secretary of State for Defra.

Candidate of the day

Owen Paterson

One day to go and Sir John Major has weighed in. “Labour divides to rule. To win votes they will turn rich against poor; north against south; worker against boss." We hope we don't wake up with them on Friday.

Hero of the day

Sir John Major

Another awful Labour woman. The fact Ed Miliband’s carved his pledges in stone doesn't mean he might not break them, campaign chief Lucy Powell has said.

Villain of the day

Lucy Powell



Back marriage. Restore grammar schools. Leave the EU.

Harry Benson

Harry Benson

Harry Benson is Research Director at The Marriage Foundation
All posts by Harry Benson

Harry Benson: If you must divorce first row in front of the kids

Family breakdown. It’s all around. Britain’s couples have the highest levels of break-up in the entire developed world. Half of all our teens are no longer living with both natural parents. But does this really matter? After all, ever since divorce rates soared in the 1960s and 1970s, the nasty stigma surrounding divorce gradually dissipated. That has to be […]


Harry Benson: It’s not marriage that’s ‘patriarchal’. It’s cohabitation

In an article for Metro last month, writer Rebecca Reid expressed horror that her fiancé might have asked her dad’s permission before he married her. The whole idea has “a massive historical problem” behind it, she declared furiously. There was a time when “women were property to be traded for the advancement of a family or for […]


Harry Benson: Marriage is the answer for committed heterosexual couples

In my family, we have an expression: “WAM”. It means “What About Me” and is usually lobbed in the direction of whichever one of our children is claiming unfair treatment. Actually as parents we try really hard to be fair. But “WAM” reminds them to make the most of what they have, rather than compare […]


Harry Benson: The real child poverty is not about money

I don’t know how she does it. A friend of mine lives on her own with her three young children. She left her partner long ago, almost immediately after the birth of the third child. Since then, she’s brought up her children single handed, surviving on benefits and, in recent years, a part time job. […]


Harry Benson: Perverse incentives. £200 if you marry, more than £7,000 to split up

It should be a flagship policy, launched at us with great fanfare and media blitz. Yes, the new Marriage Allowance will finally come into force two months before the end of a five-year government. If you’re eligible, you can now apply. The PM has long been very vocal about his support for marriage. The principle of supporting marriage is […]


Harry Benson: Cameron flunks his ‘family test’ first time out

The big problem with being an optimist, of thinking the best of people, is dealing with the disappointment when people let you down. This Coalition government’s track record certainly doesn’t merit much in the way of optimism. After all, we’ve had another four years of colossal family breakdown that now affects 45 per cent of all teenagers and […]