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 Peter Gibson Peter Gibson Conservative, Darlington 10:00 am, 12th January 2022

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir George. I will keep my remarks brief, so we can get on.

I commend my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Derbyshire; I echo the remarks of the hon. Member for Rotherham on that point. My hon. Friend has expertly guided this vital piece of legislation through Second Reading and Committee. From my experience, I know how rewarding yet challenging this process can be. I congratulate her on reaching this stage.

More must be done to address the practice of child marriage in England and Wales. Official figures for 2017 show that in that year, 183 individuals entered marriage at age 16 or 17. We know, however, that the recorded data do not accurately reflect the number of children marrying in religious and customary ceremonies. I welcome the measures in the Bill to address that. I wholeheartedly support the Bill’s intention of raising the minimum legal age for marriage and civil partnership to 18, and making it illegal for persons to arrange the marriage of a person under that age. I am pleased to be in Committee to support my hon. Friend’s Bill as it progresses. I look forward to it completing its remaining stages.