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LORD CHANCELLOR CLASHES WITH HOME SECRETARY OVER PARENTING ORDERS

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Lord chancellor Irvine has issued a warning to cabinet colleagues that measures proposed by home secretary David Bl...
Lord chancellor Irvine has issued a warning to cabinet colleagues that measures proposed by home secretary David Blunkett to force the parents of wayward children to take compulsory classes could fall foul of European human rights legislation, reported The Sunday Telegraph (p4).

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'.

Lord Irvine has locked horns with Mr Blunkett in the past, defending judges against criticisms of the home secretary, who has become increasingly frustrated with the judiciary for allegedly overriding the intentions of Parliament and frustrating the government's law and order strategy. In his letter, Lord Irvine also raised the question of who would care for children while parents undertook training.
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