The legal age to marry in England will be raised to 18 under government plans to clamp down on forced marriages, the Justice Secretary has signalled.
Robert Buckland said it was “no secret” that he believed that the minimum age should be increased to prevent the misuse of “parental consent” in some religious communities.
He said that although parental consent for under-18s had been intended to protect young people from making “ill-advised life choices” he believed it was now being used to “commoditize marriage and to propagate what I think is child abuse”.
The issue has been thrown into the spotlight by Sajid Javid, the former chancellor, who has put forward a backbench Bill to end a rule that allows 16 and 17-year-olds to marry with their parents’ permission.
This applies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, while in Scotland the legal age to marry is 16.