Legal marriage age should rise to 18, argues MP
THE legal age for marriage in the UK should be increased to 18 to stop children being wed against their will, says South Derbyshire's MP.
Heather Wheeler also told the Commons that pupils should be taught about forced child marriage at school. Whitehall is drawing up a Bill to criminalise forced marriages.
During a debate on violence against women, Mrs Wheeler said changes in laws were not enough.
She said: "Families are getting children married off in the community or in religious ceremonies. Some take advantage of the fact that the law in Britain allows the marriage of 16- and 17-year-olds with parental consent."
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Mrs Wheeler asked if the Government would consider including child marriage in the personal, social, health and economic education curriculum; whether it would make registration of religious marriages compulsory, and whether it would increase the minimum legal age for marriage to 18.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper replied that the Government would criminalise forced marriage and make a breach of a forced marriage protection order a criminal offence but added: "It is not enough just to change the law – we need to change people's attitudes."
MPs voted to recommend that the Government makes "a zero-tolerance approach to violence and abuse in relationships" a requirement in school lessons.