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Marriage by under-18s to be outlawed, pledges government

The Guardian and other news media have reported that the government has pledged to raise the minimum legal age of marriage to 18 in England and Wales. At present, 16 and 17-year olds can marry if they have parental consent.

In a letter to organisations campaigning against child marriage, Lord Wolfson, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, wrote:

"The government supports raising the legal age for marriage in England and Wales to protect vulnerable children living here.

"[It is] committed to making sure children and young people are both protected and supported as they grow and develop in order to maximise their potential life chances. This includes having the opportunity to remain in education or training until they reach the age of 18.

"Child marriage and having children too early in life can deprive them of these important life chances."

The Times reports that Sajid Javid will introduce a private member's bill making it illegal for anyone under 18 to marry.

For the report in the Guardian, click here.