Following discussions with David Maclean MP in 2009, Early Day Motion 373 was tabled in the last Parliamentary session. 58 MPs expressed their support for a review of the guidance in relocation cases, and called for greater protection for children’s relationships and welfare when matters came before the court. EDM 373 read:
“That this House believes that a child's relationship with its parents requires greater legislative protection with regard to the Family Court's current application of precedent in international and national relocation cases; further believes that the Family Courts of England and Wales' position on the importance of the father/child relationship does not reflect the current authoritative research on the importance of father involvement in educational and psychological development in relocation cases; further believes that the courts in practice place too great an emphasis on the unsubstantiated emotional risk to the child from the mother's possible distress and disappointment if not allowed to relocate; considers that this emphasis over-rides all other considerations including the needs and rights of the child; and calls on the Government to respond positively to the research report by the charity Reunite, entitled Relocation, funded by the Ministry of Justice and published in July 2009.”
Signatories by party
Conservative Party: Peter Atkinson, Richard Bacon, Peter Bottomley, Graham Brady, John Gummer, John Horam, Julie Kirkbride, Greg Knight, David Maclean, Anne Main, Michael Mates, Patrick Mercer, Richard Ottaway, Richard Shepherd, Graham Stuart, Robert Syms, Ian Taylor, Ann Widdecombe
Democratic Unionist Party: Nigel Dodds
Independent: Andrew Pelling, Bob Spink, Richard Taylor
Labour Party: Janet Anderson, Martin Caton, Janet Dean, Jim Dowd, Bill Etherington, Frank Field, Hywel Francis, John Grogan, Patrick Hall, Kate Hoey, Kim Howells, Brian Iddon, Brian Jenkins, Martyn Jones, Peter Kilfoyle, Paul Murphy, Terry Rooney, Alan Simpson, Howard Stoate.
Liberal Democrats: Colin Breed, Jeremy Browne, Tim Farron, Lynne Featherstone, Mike Hancock, Nick Harvey, John Hemming, Paul Holmes, David Howarth, Chris Huhne, Mark Oaten, Alan Reid, Bob Russell, Adrian Sanders, Stephen Williams, Phil Willis, Jenny Willott