Minimum legal age to get married could rise in England and Wales

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The legal age to tie the knot could rise to 18 in England and Wales after ministers said they would back the move.

The current minimum legal age to get married is 16 – with the consent of parents.

Campaigners have long argued that this age facilitates sexual abuse with young women forced to wed against their will.

Former chancellor Sajid Javid is set to introduce a private member’s Bill next week that will make it illegal for anyone to get married under the age of 18.

Justice ministers have suggested they will back the move in the House of Commons.

Speaking to The Times, Mr Javid said: “The British government is working tirelessly to end child marriage in the developing world and yet our own laws are permitting child marriage by the back door.

“Indeed, when Bangladesh lowered the legal age of marriage from 18 to 16, ministers there were said to have directly pointed to our laws to justify their move.

“It’s clear that we must legislate to close this loophole so that vulnerable children cannot be pushed into such serious and life-changing commitments before they are ready.”

Sajid Javid said the Government has not confirmed if it will back the Bill but he is optimistic that it will.



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