Press and web coverage

Sunday Telegraph

19 January 2020


The Sunday Telegraph featured a report on 19 January about cohabiting siblings rallying in support of Lord Lexden's new Private Member's Bill which would exempt two long-term cohabiting siblings from inheritance tax if passing their estate from one to the other. The Sunday Telegraph's report followed the publication of a letter in the Daily Telegraph from Mary Pritchard, who wrote:

SIR – My sister and I bought our house 40 years ago. We were unable to afford separate houses, so it made sense to buy together.

However, we now find that as siblings we suffer from discrimination. When one of us dies the other will not only have lost a sister and friend but will also have lost a house.

Couples have the opportunity of marriage or civil partnership, which ensures inheritance for a partner or spouse, but siblings have no such rights. Surely it is time to end this unfair system.

Mary and Jane Pritchard
Richmond, Surrey

To read The Sunday Telegraph article (behind the Telegraph paywall) click here

FT Adviser

17 January 2020

On 14 January, the Conservative peer, Lord Lexden, introduced a Private Member's Bill in the House of Lords which would allow two adult siblings who have lived together for at least seven years to pass on their estate, one to the other, free of inheritance tax. The FT Adviser reported on the development in an article on 17 January, in which it quoted tax experts in support of the proposal.

To read the report click here


8 July 2019

In the run-up to the election of a new leader of the Conservative Party, Catherine Utley discusses the party's neglect of the family in recent years and challenges the candidates to put it back where it be belongs: at the heart of social policy.

To read the piece click here

Family Education Trust
February 2019

The lead story on the back page of the February 2019 edition of the publication, Family Education Trust, quoted extensively from both Olivia Utley's article in the Daily Telegraph (see below, 3 October 2018) and from Lord Lexden's speech during the second reading of his Bill to extend civil partnerships to long-term cohabiting siblings. Both argued that the denial of rights to cohabiting family members, including, crucially, the deferral of inheritance tax until after the second death, amounted to grossly unfair discrimination.  

To read the piece click here

The Spectator Coffee House

17 January 2019


Olivia Utley argues in The Spectator 's blog that extending civil partnerships to opposite sex couples creates more problems than it solves, not least because it begs the question: if friends can enjoy the fiscal benefits of a state sponsored union, what about an elderly parent and her carer offspring? Or siblings, who have chosen to cohabit all their lives? 

To read the article click here

Conservative Home 

25 October 2018

On 25 October the Conservative Home website published a piece by Catherine Utley in which she questioned why a Conservative government should place so much more value on sexual relationships outside marriage than on
blood-related ones.

To read the article click here

The Times (Irish edition)

6 October 2018


In response to our campaign, Caroline O'Donoghue wrote a feature for the Irish edition of The Times in which she lamented how society glorifies physical relationships over emotional ones.

The article (behind The Times paywall) is here

El Pais

6 October 2018

The campaign for rights for siblings went global on 6 October 2018 with this feature in the Spanish daily, El Pais

To read the article, click here

The Times

5 October 2018

Kaya Burgess of The Times reported on our campaign on 5 October 2018.

The article (behind The Times paywall) is here

BBC online

3 October 2018

On 3 October 2018, BBC online published an interview with Catherine Utley about the campaign, which was also translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese. The story was picked up by nine of the BBC's local radio stations which broadcast interviews with Catherine, and by Vanessa Feltz who interviewed both Catherine and Virginia Utley for her Radio London breakfast show. 

To read the BBC online article, click here

The Daily Telegraph

3 October 2018

In a comment piece in the Daily Telegraph published on 3 October 2018, the journalist, Olivia Utley, who was brought up by her mother and aunt (Catherine and Virginia Utley) wrote that, in extending civil partnerships to heterosexual couples, the government was "fixing a fabricated problem while passing over the chance to fix the real one suffered by
cohabiting relations". 

The article (behind the Telegraph paywall) is here


12 September 2015

Joan Smith argued in the Independent on 12 September 2015 that "it isn’t up to ministers to make value judgements about the quality of people’s unions by enshrining discrimination in the law and the tax system". 

To read the article, click here

The Sunday Times

30 September 2018

In this fact-filled feature, Kate Palmer interviewed the recently bereaved survivor of a sibling couple who lived together for more than 40 years, as an illustration the dire difficulties faced by those in her situation when they are grieving.

The article (behind The Times paywall) is here

Standpoint magazine

September 2018

The September 2018 edition of Standpoint magazine carried an article by Olivia Utley in which she discussed the government's plan to extend civil partnerships to heterosexual couples and deplored its discrimination against those whose bond is based on blood ties. 

To read the article, click here

Daily Mail

25 July 2018

On 25 July Catherine Utley wrote in the Comment section of the Daily Mail about the second reading of Lord Lexden's bill to help cohabiting siblings, and explained exactly how successive governments have set about successfully dodging
the issue.

To read the article, click here

The Daily Telegraph

22 July 2018

Charles Moore wrote in support of our campaign in his Daily Telegraph column on 22 July 2018.

The piece (behind the Telegraph paywall) is here


03 July 2018

In the run-up to the second reading of Lord Lexden's bill in the House of Lords in July, Catherine Utley laid out the arguments on the Reaction website.

To read the article, click here

Prospect magazine

02 July 2018

Julian Baggini discussed the sibling partnership issue in a wide-ranging article about marriage and civil partnership in Prospect magazine.

To read the article, click here

The Times

15 May 2018

On 15 May 2018 Olivia Utley argued in The Times that, if civil partnerships should survive at all, they should be for those who are ineligible for marriage.

To read the article, click here

The Spectator Coffee House

29 January 2016

Catherine Utley set out why civil partnerships are unfair in a piece for The Spectator blog, Coffee House, published on 29 January 2016.

To read the article, click here

The Guardian

23 January 2016

Joanna Moorhead interviewed Catherine Utley about the siblings issue for a feature for  The Guardian published on 23 January 2016.

To read the article, click here

Daily Mail

10 September 2015

Daily Mail columnist, Tom Utley (brother of Virginia and Catherine Utley), wrote about Lord Lexden's intervention in Parliament in which he tackled the government on the cohabiting siblings issue.

To read the article, click here

The Daily Telegraph

10 September 2015

The Daily Telegraph reported Lord Lexden's intervention in the House of Lords on behalf of cohabiting siblings in a news piece on 10 September 2015.

To read the report, click here 

BBC News

29 April 2008

The BBC reported on the final judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of cohabiting siblings, Joyce and Sybil Burden, on 29 April 2008. 


To read its account, click here