Clause 1 - Marriage: increase of minimum age to 18

Part of Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 12th January 2022.

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Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham 10:00 am, 12th January 2022

My hon. Friend is making some good points about this subject, about which he might like to introduce a private Member’s Bill. We are dealing only with the chronological definition of children, but there is a real problem. We know about the low rape convictions in this country—I apologise that I have to leave this Committee to go to the Home Affairs Committee, which is looking into this matter at the moment—but they are just the cases that come forward. Those who do not have capacity come forward to declare that they have been the victim of sexual offences even less often.

I have tried to allude to the definition of children, their rights and the responsibilities of adults towards them, but this whole area needs to be cleared up. Even if my hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge is not lucky enough to be chosen in the private Members’ Bill ballot, as my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Derbyshire and I have been in the past, I am sure the Home Office Minister here today will take away these important matters and come back with Government-backed legislation, in due course.