Tory MP blasts legal age of marriage in UK as MPs back a rise to age 18

19 November 2021, 16:43

Tory MP blasts legal age of marriage in UK as MPs back a rise to age 18
Tory MP blasts legal age of marriage in UK as MPs back a rise to age 18. Picture: LBC/House of Commons

By Tim Dodd

16 and 17-year-olds are "too young" and not "mature enough" to enter into a marriage, argues Tory MP for Mid Derbyshire Pauline Latham, who has introduced a bill to raise the age to 18.

MPs have supported plans to ban child marriage in "all its forms" in England and Wales today.

The current law in England and Wales allows people to get married at 18 or, with parental consent, at 16 or 17.

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill was given an unopposed second reading on Friday, with support coming from both the Government and opposition benches.

The Private Member's Bill was originally meant to be proposed by Health Secretary Sajid Javid, but Conservative MP Pauline Latham took the Bill over after Mr Javid was reappointed to the Cabinet in June.

Read more: Andrew Marr joins LBC in exclusive deal to get his 'own voice back'

As well as raising the minimum age for marriage to 18, the Bill would also make it an offence, punishable with up to seven years' imprisonment, to carry out "any conduct for the purpose of causing a child to enter into a marriage".

It would also make it easier to prosecute parents or family members who send under-18s abroad to be wed.

Read more: Liverpool bomber 'exploited' asylum loophole to stay in UK - Home Sec

Referring to a caller's story, Shelagh said: "There's a difference between Isabella's experience at 14 being taken abroad and married off to a man of someone else's choosing three times her age... to a 16-year-old getting agreement from his or her parents to marry a 17-year-old, but do you think that is still poor legislation that needs bumping up to 18?"

Ms Latham replied: "It is inherently too young. The thing is that children now have to stay in education and training until they're 18, so how can they take on everything that a marriage [is] , which is a big commitment.

"If they cannot sign for themselves - their parents have to sign on their behalf - they're not really mature enough to make that life changing decision.

"They can't buy cigarettes til they're 18, they can't go into a pub and buy an alcoholic drink til they're 18, they can't have a tattoo til they're 18, so why on earth do we allow them to make this life changing decision?"

Read more: 'Vile': Tory councillor apologises for Jeremy Corbyn Liverpool bomb attack tweet

More Shelagh Fogarty News

See more More Shelagh Fogarty News

Tory MP calls for criminalisation of non-consensual deepfake pornographic images

Tory MP calls for criminalisation of non-consensual deepfake pornographic images

'Worse than useless': Storm Arwen victims share accounts of power cuts

'Worse than useless': LBC listeners reveal impact of Storm Arwen power cuts

'It's not illegal to claim asylum': Former refugee speaks to LBC

'It's not illegal to claim asylum': Former refugee speaks to LBC

Reza met Emad Al Swealmeen around five years ago.

'He wasn't well at all': Man 'pretty sure' to have met Liverpool bomber speaks to LBC

Caller: I got racist abuse every time I worked in dad's shop

LBC Caller: I got racist abuse every time I worked in dad's shop

Andrew Pierce gives take on Meghan Markle's experience with Royal Family

Andrew Pierce gives take on Meghan Markle's experience with Royal Family

Covid: 91-year-old Shelagh Fogarty delivers message to unvaccinated and deniers

Covid: 91-year-old Shelagh Fogarty caller delivers message to unvaccinated and deniers

LBC guest shares story of being catfished – by her cousin

LBC guest shares shocking story of being catfished – by her cousin

UK has 'five more years of stagnant living standards at best' - IFS Director

UK has 'five more years of stagnant living standards at best' - IFS Director

Ex-prisoner: Raab 'absolutely right' on using prisoners to plug labour shortages

Ex-offender: Raab 'absolutely right' on using prisoners to plug labour shortages

Government 'all over the shop' on mask-wearing, says Shadow Health Secretary

Government 'all over the shop' on mask-wearing, says Shadow Health Secretary

'It's horrific déjà vu': Ex-nurse 'terrified' at lack of Covid restrictions as cases rise

Ex-NHS staff nurse 'terrified' and 'sad' as Covid cases rise

UK faces 8,000 Covid deaths before Christmas if govt don't act, epidemiologist warns

UK faces 8,000 Covid deaths before Christmas if govt don't act, epidemiologist warns

'It's unthinkable': Iain Dale reacts to Sir David Amess' murder

'It's unthinkable': Iain Dale reacts to Sir David Amess' death

Poorer areas could see 'even larger' council tax increases than projections, says IFS Director

Poorer areas could see 'even larger' council tax increases than projected, says IFS Director

Shelagh Fogarty condemns Javid's 'insulting' and 'leaden' social care comment

Shelagh Fogarty condemns Sajid Javid's 'insulting' and 'leaden' social care comment