BIRKENHEAD MP Frank Field has launched a manifesto with a cross-party group of MPs calling for greater support for vulnerable families during pregnancy and the early years of a child’s life.

Mr Field said the aim is to secure a commitment from all parties to ensure no child falls behind.

The Labour MP has been campaigning for many years to improve conditions for children.

Back in 2011, Mr Field sparked controversy when he said parental neglect in some Wirral households was so acute that children were starting school without even knowing their own names.

His new drive focuses attention of the first 1,001 days of a child's life.

He told the Globe: “There is no area where early intervention generally is more important to more of us than in those first 1001 days.

"In the manifesto, we list the key moves to break that link between parental poverty and a child becoming a poor adult."

The programme is called The 1001 Critical Days and calls for increased awareness of the mental needs of mothers after evidence showed the earliest emotional experiences of a baby will have a major impact on brain development.

The manifesto says:

• Vulnerable families should be given access to services that promote better interaction between parents and their babies.

• All parents should have access to ante-natal classes addressing both physical and emotional aspects of parenting and the baby’s wellbeing.

• Birth registration should be offered by local registrars in Children's Centres to ensure almost 100% of families are involved with the centres.

• Specialist parent and infant mental health midwives and health visitors are needed in every local area to support families at the earliest opportunity.

During a House of Commons debate in 2011, Mr Field claimed some children starting school don’t even know their own names, have never seen a book, cannot hold a crayon or dress themselves.

He said he had seen young people in Birkenhead who are so neglected by their parents "that I wonder whether I would survive if I were subjected to the things they are exposed to."