'No parent who loves their child would force a 16-year-old to marry', says emotional caller

6 October 2020, 22:59

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

This emotional caller told LBC why child marriages should be criminalised in the UK following a number of harrowing personal experiences.

The exchange came after one MP's effort to see the minimum age of marriage in Britain changed to 18 without exception.

Currently, the legal age for getting married in the UK stands at 18. However, parents can give their consent for their children to get married from the age of 16.

On Tuesday, Conservative MP for Mid Derbyshire Pauline Latham presented the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill to the Commons, saying "we need to safeguard these children".

Speaking about the proposed legislation, Hannah from Lewisham explained to Iain Dale why she thought child marriages should be criminalised.

Hannah told LBC why she thought child marriages should be criminalised
Hannah told LBC why she thought child marriages should be criminalised. Picture: PA

"This is quite a contentious issue for me. I completely agree with your guest speaker. Absolutely it should be made law to be able to marry at 18," she said.

"16 is way too young and it brings back a lot of traumatising memories for me.

"I'm from the Asian community, I can't specify any more than that, I still live in fear, and although I had the temerity and guts to say to my parents, 'Absolutely not are you going to marry me at 16,' I left home because the pressure was too much.

"But I had a friend at school, several friends, and I remember breaking up for the GCSEs thinking that we're all going to go to college, and I did, and I never saw her again.

"We found out that she'd gone to Bangladesh and had been married off."

Hannah, who grew increasingly upset while telling her story, then apologised for being nervous, before being reassured by Iain who said "we shouldn't shy away from talking about" the issue.

You can listen to Hannah's incredible story in full at the top of the page.