Government wants to raise minimum age for marriage from 16 to 18 Bedford News

The minimum age of marriage in England and Wales is 16 (Shutterstock)

The legal minimum age for marriage in England and Wales could be raised to 18 under backbench legislation filed by former Chancellor Sajid Javid.

Mr Javid said he would introduce a private member’s bill next week to protect vulnerable teens from religious and cultural pressures to marry too young.

He told The Times he was “optimistic” that the measure would receive government support – giving it a good chance of becoming law.

Currently, 16-year-olds can get married if they have the consent of their parents.

However, Mr Javid said what he described as a legal “loophole” resulted in the forced marriage of teenagers – a practice he called “child abuse”.

“The UK government is working tirelessly to end child marriage in developing countries and yet our own laws allow child marriage through the back door,” he told the newspaper.

“Indeed, when Bangladesh lowered the legal age of marriage from 18 to 16, ministers would have directly invoked our laws to justify their decision.

“It is clear that we need to legislate to fill this gap so that vulnerable children cannot be pushed into such serious and life-changing commitments before they are ready.

Mr Javid, of Pakistani descent, said he considered changing the law when he was interior minister in Theresa May’s government, after seeing examples of the practice in his own community.

“I saw this myself in the community where I grew up, young girls expected them to marry long before they were ready, with painful consequences,” he said. .

“Let’s call it that: child abuse. “

More about this article: Read More
This notice was published: 2021-06-12 08:41:24

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *