Campaigning in UK & Ireland

Based in the heart of Westminster, Mothers’ Union lobbies government on issues affecting family life as well as campaigning and advocating for support for families through government policy and law.

Bye Buy Childhood

Childhood is now treated as a global marketing opportunity and families are facing increasing pressure from advertisers, the media and a consumer culture. Our campaign equips families to manage this pressure and challenges government and industry to support families and market responsibly to children. Visit the Bye Buy Childhood website to find out more.

Mothers' Union is continuing to put pressure on governments in UK & Ireland to continue to address the impact of the commercial world on children. In March 2015 our new report demonstrated that 81% of parents feel concerned about the impact of the commercial world on their children and 68% of parents believe that advertising that can be seen by children can be harmful to them - an increase of 9% since 2010.  

We are delighted to have suppot from leading parenting experts, MPs and Mothers' Union patrons such as The Archbishop of York, who said “I’ve supported Mothers’ Union’s Bye Buy Childhood campaign since it was launched in 2010 and I know just how thrilled Mothers’ Union  members have been to see the response from Government,  Industry and the Third Sector,  as they take measures to protect children. But it is right that Mothers’ Union continues to be vigilant on these issues, and encourages all of us to continue to play our part in not only ensuring that everyone adheres to government regulations, but also strives for best practice to support parents and children.”  

In January 2014 Mothers' Union made a response to the  government's proposal to amend the Video Recordings Act 1984 to provide new classification requirements for music, sports, religious and educational videos. 

Child maintenance 

In 2012, the Government announced proposals to change the way in which separated parents support their children financially. Currently, separated parents can make private arrangements or use statutory maintenance services - the Child Support Agency or Child Maintenance Service. However, the Government wants more parents to reach their own agreements and in July 2012, the DWP consulted on a new system that would offer advice for separating parents, encourage private arrangements and charge both parents to use the statutory collection service. Mothers' Union responded to the Government's consultation, and final proposals were announced in November 2013. Parents will be charged an upfront fee of £20 to use the new service, apart from those who have suffered domestic abuse from their former partner. Non-resident parents will then be required to pay an additional 20 per cent on their maintenance payments and parents with care of the child(ren) will pay 4 per cent to receive the maintenance. Closure of cases and the implementation of the new system will start from 2014. 

Flexible Parental Leave

Being able to take time out of work following the birth of a child enables parents to bond with their newborn and mothers with the opportunity to recover from childbirth and to breastfeed. The government introduced a flexible system of parental leave in 2015 whereby parents can decide between themselves who takes leave when. This will enable both mothers and fathers, adoptive parents and partners of mothers to take shared parental leave concurrently or at different times during baby's first year to ensure a strong family bond.

Read more on our campaigning around shared parental pay and shared parental leave here and read our response to the consultation here.

Mothers’ Union is also  part of the Valuing Maternity campaign lobbying government for parental leave that supports families at this crucial time. Shared parental leave should give employers and employees clear guidelines on rights and procedures for returning to work, whilst safeguarding these vital months for families to bond and mothers to recover.


UK Parliament passed the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act in July 2013.  Our response to the UK and Wales Civil Partnership consultation can be found here.  The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act was subsequently passed in 2014. Mothers' Union’s response to the Scottish consultation on the introduction of same sex marriage can be found here.

Since the introduction of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014, the Scottish Government has been considering the future of civil partnership. Mothers’ Union responded to a public consultation on the proposals, which can be viewed here

For further details of Mothers' Union's policy work on marriage see Promoting Marriage.

Sunday Opening

In September 2015, the Government carried out a public consultation on changing the rules on Sunday trading to remove restrictions on opening hours for large stores (floor area of over 280 square metres / 3000 square feet). The Government has proposed to devolve Sunday trading rules to local areas, such as cities run by elected mayors and/or local authorities. You can read Mothers' Union's response here


Violence against women and girls 

Mothers' Union response to consultation on Prosecution of Domestic Violence cases (England and Wales) 

Strengthening the Law on Domestic Abuse Mothers' Union response.doc