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'Nanny state' jibes for Minister who admits interfering.

Byline: By MIKE JONES

The Government was accused of wanting to create a 'nanny state' yesterday after children's minister Margaret Hodge said it is not a question of whether the state should intrude in family life but 'how and when'. Shadow secretary of state for the family, Theresa May, responded that families did not need a Government 'nanny' looking over their shoulder.

'At least Mrs Hodge has admitted what many have been saying for years, that the Government is intent on interfering and controlling every aspect of our lives,' she said.

Labour has come under attack in recent months over plans to ban smoking in public places and a row over whether to ban smacking.

In a speech to the Institute of Public Policy Research in central London, Mrs Hodge argued that the state has historically involved itself in family life, from the introduction of compulsory education to legislation controlling the use of child labour.

She conceded the relationship between the family and the state was 'contentious and contested' but said the Left believed government intervention was necessary 'to promote opportunity for all and enable every child to fulfil their full potential'.

She said, 'The state can be a powerful force for good in families and communities, and we should celebrate, not denigrate, its role.

'For me it's not a question of whether we should intrude in family life, but how and when.'
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 27, 2004
Words:233
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