In a letter to the prime minister and cabinet colleagues, Lord Irvine said he supported in principle the proposals for parenting orders but that they risked being attacked as an 'extreme example of the nanny state'. Under the new measures, the home secretary would require parents of peristent truants or children engaged in anti-social behaviour to attend residential parenting courses.
Tony Blair has backed the measures as part of a broad campaign to crack down on yobbish behaviour in the street.
However, the lord chancellor, who represents Britain's judges in parliament, has told the cabinet: 'I think we need to recognise that the change is, in fact, quite radical. There are plainly human rights implications here under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Family Life). Though the prevention of offending and protection of others might justify the proposals, some will regard a court order imposing a residence requirement on a person who has not necessarily been convicted of any offence as draconian or an extreme example of the nanny state'.