Calls For Legal Age Of Marriage To Rise To 18
14 May 2019, 19:27 | Updated: 14 May 2019, 19:35
Derbyshire MP wants age raise to stop children being pushed into arranged marriages with older men.
Young girls are being pushed into marrying "predators", an MP has said, prompting calls to increase the age at which people can marry.
Tory MP Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire) said the age at which people are allowed to marry should be raised to stop children being pushed into arranged marriages with older men.
She said allowing people to marry at such a young age is a "loophole" which is being abused by "predators" looking to marry young girls.
Mrs Latham will lead a debate in Westminster Hall on Wednesday on whether the minimum age of marriages and civil partnerships ought to be raised from 16 to 18.
Speaking ahead of the debate, Mrs Latham said young people are being pushed into arranged marriages, and are less able to refuse or argue with their parents than they would be if they were older.
She said raising the age at which marriage is allowed would help young people make their own decisions.
Mrs Latham said: "It is a loophole. If you are 16, you can't stand up to your parents the way you could if you were 18."
She added: "When my mother left school at 14, it was not uncommon for girls to get married. But I think to still insist we can still let children get married at 16 is an anomaly."
Mrs Latham said she is not against young people having relationships, but said changing the law would help protect girls from "predatory" older men.
She said: "I am not trying to stop teenagers falling in love or having relationships, but they can wait until they are 18 to get married. There is no reason they should get married before that.
"What I am trying to do is protect young people. There are predators out there, older men trying to marry young girls.
"I am not trying to stop teenagers having sex, I am trying to protect girls."