THE news that the Child Support Agency office in Basingstoke is to close worries me greatly. The serious implications for the staff are obvious. Many are now in touch with me.

Chief executive Doug Smith's three-week failure to reply to the representations which I have made on behalf of constituents strengthens the concern about the way the decision was reached and announced.

HISTORICALLY, mental illness has been cruelly stigmatised. Thankfully, attitudes are changing. It is sympathetically acknowledged that many people will suffer mental illness some time during their lives.

In this context, I applaud the work of Basingstoke's Adelphi Place Clubhouse, which I visited last week. Its wide range of "work activities" demonstrably helps members regain purpose and confidence.

I was struck by the commitment and dedication of the staff and by the enthusiasm and appreciation of club members.

I FEEL deeply sorry for 14-year-old Melissa Smith, who, according to media reports, now regrets having the abortion which was arranged for her at school without her family's knowledge. Her tragic experience also focuses attention on wider issues.

We have created a society which has devalued marriage and regards sexual restraint as fuddy-duddy. Birth control pills, condoms, temporary sterilisation patches and abortions are widely available to school children.

The result? We have the highest level of teenage pregnancies in Europe, and it still does not dawn on our liberal elite that its value-free approach is a significant cause of the problem.