THE main reason I have remained child-free – rather than childless – is that I didn’t think I could handle the stress or expense of being a dad.

At the time it might have happened there was no potential mother around for my children. Now I’m too old.

And I suspect the world has more than enough people in it already. But Tory MP Miriam Cates is having none of it.

The MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge was one of those who attended last week’s 'National Conservative' get-together for right-wing politicians and their sympathisers.

Ms Cates was lamenting the falling birth rate, and put it down to 'liberal individualism' and one of the pet hates of those at the gathering, 'cultural Marxism', whatever that is.

She also blamed the increase in university places during the Labour years, declaring that according to some surveys graduates are 50 per cent more likely to remain childless.

However, like many on the right, Ms Cates believes things are all going horribly wrong yet fails attach any of the blame to the party who have been in power for the last 13 years.

During that time the Conservatives have gone out of their way to make raising a family more difficult.

Sure Start centres have closed. Parents can’t manage on one income anymore, and yet childcare is astronomically expensive – costing double what it does in other western countries.

Higher rents, lower incomes, university debts and a shortage of affordable housing all gang up on couples that might otherwise have started a family.

I don’t know whether Ms Cates thinks the Government should encourage more babies or prosecute those like me who don’t have any. But it’s what the governments of Nazi Germany and Communist Romania tried to do.

The Nazis ran brothels frequented by 'racially pure' SS men. The Ceasescu regime in Romania restricted abortion and contraception – and filled orphanages with sick and malnourished children.

Still, we now learn that Boris Johnson is doing his bit to fight the baby shortage, with the announcement that his wife is expecting their third child.

So he will soon become a father of eight, or maybe more. I don’t think he or anybody else is quite sure.