By Charlotte Smith
Campaigners for fathers’ rights have started a protest camp outside the prime minister’s house.
New Fathers 4 Justice (NF4J), Stop The War on Dads and other parenting organisations have returned to David Cameron’s home in Oxfordshire to raise awareness of equal rights for fathers and the family court laws.
Last Christmas New Fathers 4 Justice camped outside the prime minister’s Witney consistency property for a week, where months later David Cameron claimed his house is “falling apart” due to damage by protesters.
A New Fathers 4 Justice spokesperson said: “In his Christmas speech David Cameron mentioned the importance of families but ignores the rights of fathers to see their children after family breakdown.
“We need to remind him that in 2010 David Cameron promised a presumption of contact for fathers with their children after family breakdown, but the Government has failed to keep that promise in The Children and Families Act 2014 which was implemented on 22 April 2014.”
The campaigners arrived around 3pm on Sunday (27th December) to set up camp with food, with plans on staying there until the new year.
Bringing ladders with them, the organisations are expecting the unexpected after last month’s protest of fathers’ rights activists, Bobby Smith and Martin Matthews, scaling the Queen’s gallery in Buckingham Palace, despite high amount of police officers following the horrific Paris terror attacks.
The UK-based group campaign against parental alienation and highlights the injustice fathers face in the current family court system.
“Christmas is a very emotional time when you aren’t able to see your children or grandchildren. Many of whom will go through the formalities of buying presents for their and children and grandchildren and putting them under the tree, hoping above hope that they will see them.
“Not seeing your children and being denied access to them is like a living bereavement.”
During the protest the group held up banners, which read ‘having a dad is a child’s human right!’
The fathers are dressed in Father Christmas outfits and believe no parent who is fit and willing should be denied their right to share equally in the lives of their own children.
Refugee of the family courts and active protester, Bobby Smith, 33, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, said: “When parents separate, whether they are married or not, unless the mother or father has convictions of violence, sexual assaults or any other serious concerns, which is a small minority, it should be 50:50 contact.
“People think myself and other people who protest are the solution, it gives people hope. When you aren’t seeing your kids some people turn to drink, they stop working and all that so they can’t go out and protest, which can make them depressed.
“It’s always better to have both parents if you can, people’s lives would be better if they could get contact with both.”
Bobby Smith stood against David Cameron in the Prime Minister’s constituency of Witney, Oxfordshire, in May’s general election dressed as Sesame Street character, Elmo.
The activist previously climbed Westminster Abbey on Father’s Day.
According to New Fathers 4 Justice, over 4 million children did not see one of their parents on Christmas day due to family breakdown.
Speaking on the main aims of the campaign group a spokesman added: “We want nothing less than a legal presumption of equal contact for a child with their parents if they split up, and the abolition of the deeply controversial, undemocratic secret court system that still exists within the ‘family’ division despite forty years of inequality and protest.
“In the 21st century fathers deserve more equality after family breakdown as much as women do in the workplace, but the rights of fathers to share equally in the lives of their children have been ignored by successive Governments.”