Raising the marrying age poses a problem for lowering the voting age

The argument for votes at 16 will now have to be made on the grounds that it is not the same as serving in the armed forces, paying taxes or tying the knot, writes John Rentoul

Sunday 21 November 2021 01:00
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<p>Pauline Latham, Conservative, argues to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18 </p>

Pauline Latham, Conservative, argues to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18

Congratulations to Pauline Latham, the Conservative who is likely to join the club of MPs who have changed the law from outside government. Her private member’s bill passed its first hurdle on Friday. It proposes to raise the minimum age for marriage (and civil partnership) from 16 to 18 and because it has government support it is likely to become law.

The measure is designed to put an end to forced child marriages. It has long been the case that marriage is lawful at 16 with parental consent, but that has left the problem of when consent actually means parental pressure.

There was a mood of unusual consensus in the Commons on Friday because the measure is also supported by the Labour Party. I think this raises an interesting question. It makes Labour’s support for reducing the voting age to 16 even more of an anomaly.

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