A Conservative MP has called on Westminster to recognise the importance of marriage to society.

Speaking in the House of Commons on International Men’s Day, Miriam Cates highlighted that “the most stable form of family—and the one with the best outcomes for children—is where the parents are married”.

She added: “That is not a value judgment; it is clear from the evidence. Married parents are twice as likely to stay together as non-married parents.”

More pro-family

The MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge noted that despite the significant benefits of marriage “marriage rates have declined significantly over recent years, particularly among lower income groups” and urged the Government to reform the taxation system “to be much more pro-family”.

Mrs Cates also took aim at the damage being done through the proliferation of online pornography.

She called for swift action on the age verification aspects of the impending Online Safety Bill to ensure that young people cannot access online pornography, which may lead boys into sexual offences, broken families or cause them not to form relationships at all.

Pornography catastrophe

Cates warned that pornography affects what men, and particularly boys, view as “normal” and “acceptable”, and its consumption has been “associated with the dramatic increase in child-on-child sexual abuse, which now constitutes around a third of all child sexual abuse”.

She highlighted that approximately “50% of 12-year-olds have seen pornography online, and 1.4 million children in the UK access it each month”.

In light of this, the MP urged the Government to “introduce secure age verification so that no children can access pornographic websites” and prevent them from “accidentally viewing or deliberately sharing pornographic images with one another online”.

online pornography is the opiate trade of our age

Cates stated: “The future social impact of this porn epidemic will be catastrophic if we do not protect our boys and girls. I believe that online pornography is the opiate trade of our age, and we should be outraged by what our children are seeing.”

‘Harmful’

Earlier this year, a survey revealed that more than half of British men aged 18-39 watch pornography at least once a month.

YouGov also found that nearly 60 per cent of men in that age group watched porn before the age of 18. The rate is lower among women, but a third (32.5%) of 18-39 year-olds also admitted watching porn before turning 18.

Vanessa Morse, Chief Executive of the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation, commented: “These shocking statistics show the prevalence of children watching harmful pornography at a young age.”