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Civil Partnership

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:33 pm on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women 4:33 pm, 31st October 2019

As always, my hon. Friend asks me many questions. I sometimes think he is doing it in the hope of catching me out, so I am going to do my best to prove him wrong. The date on which the regulations come into force is set out in regulation 1(2) and they will be very much in force on 2 December, so that the 28 days’ notice can be in force for civil partnerships on 31 December, with the exception, as he rightly points out, in respect of emergency applications.

On overseas civil partnerships, overseas relationships can be recognised as civil partnerships in England and Wales if they meet the conditions set out in the Act. Opposite-sex couples who formed a civil partnership on the Isle of Man will be recognised as civil partners in England and Wales on the day these regulations come into force—in other words, from 2 December. I should say that the regulations include a list of specified overseas relationships that will be treated as civil partnerships here, but other overseas relationships can also be recognised as civil partnerships if they meet general conditions.

Yes, the General Register Office will issue clear guidance to local registration services about the commencement of the new scheme. I do not have a date to hand, but when I discover one, I will write to my hon. Friend.

On the other matters in the Bill, I am delighted to confirm that the General Register Office is currently working on the secondary legislation, IT systems and administrative processes required to implement the marriage schedule system. Officials are working with the Church of England and the Church in Wales on the details of the proposals, and a timescale will be announced in due course. I am keen that we help to get mums’ names on to marriage certificates as soon as possible.

I hope that my hon. Friend will forgive me in respect of the other matters he raised. We have concentrated on civil partnerships, so I will have to write to him on the other two matters—he caught me out on those two.

Question put and agreed to.