Norman Tebbit, the former Conservative Party Chairman, has attacked the coalition’s flagship child care policy and claimed each child should have either a mother or father at home to raise them.
Having more stay-at-home parents would reduce the cost to the taxpayer of coping with family break-ups and “subsidising” families with two working parents, he said.
Lord Tebbit added that the coalition is “past its sell-by date” and should not continue beyond the general election.
Giving a “State of the Conservative Party” lecture to the Bow Group think tank, the peer said he was “not terribly impressed” by tax breaks to help working families to manage the costs of childcare.
From Autumn 2015, about 1.9 million families with children under 12 in which both parents work will receive tax breaks of up to £2,000, costing the public purse £750 million.
Lord Tebbit said people should recognise that being a parent involves making “choices”, adding: “I'm not terribly impressed with the idea of subsidising people who both want to have children and to go to work, both members of the family.”
He said the Conservatives should “think about how we could encourage mothers, normally, or even fathers to look after their own children, bring them up in the family.”
“I think that would save a lot of money in the longer run as we look at the costs of family break-ups,” he added.
He also criticised attempts to make Parliament more “child-friendly”, claiming MPs should either be a politician or a parent, and not both.
“Where I see credence being given to the demands of an MP to take a baby through the division lobbies, to change the House of Commons to make it child friendly and things like that, I say to myself 'why don't you make up your mind what you want to do?” he said. “Do you want to be a mother looking after your own children or do you want to be a politician?
“When I was elected to the House of Commons I left my flying career. I couldn't continue with it, it was incompatible with being a member of the House of Commons.”