The minimum statutory marriage age will be raised to 18 amid fears that current law “allows child marriage in the back door.”
Currently, the legal marriage age is 16 and teens can get married with the consent of their parents.
Next week, former Prime Minister Sajid Javid will submit a new bill that makes it illegal to get married under the age of 18.
Javid said Times A 16-year-old child forced to marry is “child abuse.”
He states: “Although the UK Government is working tirelessly to end child marriage in developing countries, our own law still allows child marriage in the back door.
“Certainly, when Bangladesh lowered the statutory marriage age from 18 to 16, it was said that the ministers there pointed directly to our law to justify their move.
“That’s why we plan to introduce legislative legislation in England and Wales to raise the legal marriage age to 18.
“The government has listened and has not yet confirmed that they support my bill, but we are optimistic that we can work with colleagues to fight child marriage.”
The bill is expected to gain cross-party support, as ministers have already shown support for the plan.
Havid, a Pakistani heritage, says he has witnessed child marriage in his community.
“I’ve seen this myself in the community I grew up in. The young girl was hoping to get married long before she was ready to have painful consequences.
“Let’s call this what it is: child abuse.”
He is also expected to challenge Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to change Scottish law.
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More than 20 organizations wrote to the prime minister last month saying that current legislation does not protect young people and allows women to marry against their will.
The four Co-Chairs of Girls Not Brides UK said:
“In reality, child marriage is an invisible but prosperous problem in Britain today.”
Raise the minimum legal marriage age to 18 after fear of current law “Allow child marriage at the back door”
SourceRaise the minimum legal marriage age to 18 after fear of current law “Allow child marriage at the back door”