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Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc.) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:28 am on 2nd February 2018.

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Photo of Scott Mann Scott Mann Conservative, North Cornwall 11:28 am, 2nd February 2018

My hon. Friend from the south-west makes an interesting point, and I know the Minister is listening.

It is a travesty that the mother’s name is not on the marriage certificate. I was not aware of that until I did some research into the debate, and it came as a real surprise to me. It is madness that this has been allowed to go on for such a long time. Since 1837, the marriage register entry in England and Wales has included details of the spouses’ fathers but not their mothers. There are presently two Bills going through Parliament that seek to change that inequality, one introduced by the Bishop of St Albans, which has had its Second Reading in the Lords, and the other by the Second Church Estates Commissioner, my right hon. Friend Dame Caroline Spelman, which will have its Second Reading on 23 February. This change has long been called for and has cross-party support.

In 2014 the then Prime Minister gave a commitment that the content of the marriage entry would be updated to include the details of both parents, as current procedures did not reflect modern Britain. Statistics show that there are currently some 2 million single parents in the country, around 90% of whom are women. As it stands, if any of their children were to get married, they could include only their father’s details in the marriage entry. Their mother’s details would not be included. In the modern world, that is unacceptable.

I will not touch on the third and fourth elements of the Bill. Many Members have spoken about those elements, including my hon. Friends the Members for Colchester (Will Quince) and for Banbury (Victoria Prentis) and the hon. Member for Washington and Sunderland West. I do not feel I can add anything particular, and I look forward to the speeches yet to come on those issues.

In conclusion, there are many commendable elements of the Bill, and I hope Her Majesty’s Government and my hon. Friend the Member for East Worthing and Shoreham can find a way to review the issues raised today.