Legal age you can get married to be raised in England and Wales 3 days ago

Legal age you can get married to be raised in England and Wales

"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."

The legal age of marriage in the UK is set to be raised from 16 to 18 years old, according to reports.

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Currently, 16-year-olds can legally get married if they have the consent of their parents, with campaigners arguing that this young age allows sexual abuse as young women are sometimes forced to wed against their will.

The Metro reports that former chancellor Sajid Javid is introducing a private member's bill next week that will look to make it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to marry. Justice ministers have apparently indicated that they will be supporting the bill, and it is expected to get support on both sides of the house.

Speaking to the Times, 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."

Previous attempts to raise the legal age of marriage to 18 have failed, but Javid said that he was optimistic the government will be supporting the new bill.

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The former chancellor is of Pakistani heritage, and said that arranged teenage marriages could be exploited by foreign nationals to get British citizenship. He said he had witnessed the practice in his own South Asian community when he was younger, labelling it as "child abuse."

"I've seen this myself in the community I was raised in, young girls expected to enter into marriage far before they were ready to with painful consequences," he said. "Let's call this what it is: child abuse."