On Friday, the MPs in England and Wales sparked a discussion in the House of Commons about a campaign to raise the minimum legal age of marriage by two years.
Conservative MP Pauline Latham has introduced the private members’ bill, which is expected to win approval by a majority agreement in parliament. If the act becomes law, anyone who becomes complicit in underage marriage could spend up to seven years in prison.
At the moment, people in England can get legally married at the age of 16 with the consent of their parents or legal guardians. This will be raised to 18 years under this new law, which will also apply to civil partnerships.
At the time of writing, the draft is only on its second reading at the House of Commons, where it began. For it to be made law, it must go through the same process in the House of Lords before reaching the final stages. The budding law is expected to be amended and debated in three more stages before being passed onto the House of Lords.
Once made legal, the bill will see stricter restrictions being implemented on arranged child marriages. In fact, several campaigners for child marriage charities spoke out in favour of the proposal.