The Office for National Statistics’ Social Trends reports that in Britain, 42.3 per cent of children are born out of wedlock.

(In 1994, the figure was 32 per cent, but in the early 1970s it was less than 10 per cent. The number exceeds 50 per cent in some parts of the UK, including Wales. Britain now has the fourth highest level of births outside marriage in Europe, after Sweden, Denmark and France.)