Cameron: ban forced marriages

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The Independent Online

The Conservative leader David Cameron will call for forced marriages to be outlawed if the current legislation proves inadequate for tackling the issue.

Mr Cameron is to visit Bradford today with the Shadow Cabinet, and will raise the issue of forced marriages when he meets Asian community representatives.

The Foreign Office has stated that 300 cases of forced marriages are reported to it each year. Mr Cameron will say that this is the "tip of the iceberg". Mr Cameron will emphasise to local groups that he believes mutually agreed arranged marriages have proved successful.

The Government has attacked forced marriages but has stopped short of criminalising them.

Mr Cameron will say the Forced Marriages Act, which the Tories supported, is inadequate because it only makes it possible to pursue civil prosecutions.

"We've got to stop the practice where British citizens are ... flown abroad and forced to marry someone," he will say.

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