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The policy is good and should be supported. A new law may not be needed, but we do not need a new law for every new policy. If we can refocus and enforce an existing law in order to fulfil a policy I don't see a problem.

This may lose us a few Muslim (and Hindu) votes but I would imagine we will win more votes than we lose especially if we highlight the Government's inaction on this issue.

Andrew Woodman

I'm glad to see this policy has been put forward. I know of a girl who's been forced into an arranged marriage. She's now confined to her house with an abusive husband who came from Pakistan to marry her. It's something I simply can't believe is allowed to happen in this country.

How to administer a ban is another matter though.

Nick Webb

I'll be voting in support of Louise's policy. In addition I have to say I can't wait until she is an MP, every posting by her that I have read is a very well made point with a clear willingness to listen.

Paul Kennedy

"lets get it working against rape first! Barely one in twenty rape charges result in a conviction" Margot James 02:25

Quoting statistics is dangerous given that you have made the assumption that all those charged with rape are actually guilty of it.

I would guess that conviction rates for "forced marriages" would be very low, with the distinct likelihood that the victim becomes a murder statistic.......prior to any legal proceedings.

Given my response, and in order that there is no confussion as to where I stand on this issue, I find "forced marriages" totally abhorrent, they are not marriages at all, it is slavery of the very worst kind.

Maybe there is some merit in having much stricter controls on allowing certain so called fiances/newly wedded people back into the UK as Margot mentions at the end of her post on the subject.

Yet Another Anon

Forced Marriage is already illegal - Threats of violence, assault, blackmail, kidnapping, rape - there are various laws already applying to it and the thing to do is tighten those laws and enforce them properly and not simply introduce a new law that says the same thing but for a specific group.

Sometimes people include emotional pressure, manipulation, warnings by parents and relatives that if they don't do it then bad they will be responsible for family problems bringing shame and ill fortune on it and hectoring that are means of inducing guilt also as part of Forced Marriage, most families involve use of such manipulation over one thing or other or a number of things - most of my family would be in jail if manipulating people especially family members to do things they didn't want to was illegal.

So what is it exactly that would be banned by a law on Forced Marriage that isn't already that should be?


"Isnt it AMAZING that the male posters here, who will never ever be subject to this form of subjugation, are being picky and legalistic."

I don't think the male posters are opposed to the idea or the principals behind it. They're just interested in the practicalities of implementation. The last thing we need is a sensible idea that is rushed through and becomes "bad law" i.e. it's badly drafted and causes all sorts of legal cockups. I voted in favour of this idea but I'd like to think that if such a law was introduced, time and trouble would be taken over ensuring it couldn't be misinterpreted etc.

Yet Another Anon

There is already law applicable as has been said, that needs tightening and enforcing with more stringent penalties; other than that the Forced Marriages Unit has been set up as a joint Foreign Office\Home Office organisation to co-ordinate with regard to dealing with the issue of Forced Marriages and Local Police Forces and Local Authorities mostly have bodies to liase and co-ordinate with regard to this issue.

It might be that there are aspects relating to things happening outside the country that need to be looked at, surely this might be best addressed if neccessary by revising recent legislation regarding Sex Offenders actions in overseas countries and the Forced Marriage Unit can continue to have a co-ordinating role.

Annabel Herriott

I agree Richard. It must be watertight. How many CH posters realise there is a fair bit of skullduggery going on to get the new "husband" into the country. The girl is not allowed back until she is pregnant. She must have her child delivered in the UK so it will be a UK citizen. The girls father often falsifies pay records etc to make it look as if his daughter will be supporting the new husband. Money will be put into a bank account for her, etc etc. This I know from my work among Asian women when I was health visiting. Often father goes along to the immigration office as well, so daughter cannot rock the boat. These old ex pats are very cunning indeed, especcially if they owe someone back home a favour. I have managed to convince a few girls to get in to see the immigration officer by them selves, but its the old old story. I dont want to drop my parents in it. Thats why it MUST BE LAW!!!!

Denis Cooper

Isn't this a matter of changing procedures so that if any person is being pressured into marriage they have several opportunities to inform an official (eg the registrar) in confidence and seek help and if necessary protection before the wedding takes place? Which may need a new law to prevent marriages taking place without the state official first fully satisfying himself on a series of matters - that both parties are in the country legally, that they are both old enough to marry, that they are both legally able to marry (ie neither already married and not too closely related), that they are both willing to do so, and that the proposed marriage is not bogus.

So I will vote yes, for a new law to introduce much tighter procedures to prevent all kinds of invalid marriages, including forced marriages.


Some of us male bloggers voted in support. Re Margot James' statistic, one in two would be a bad %age, let alone one in twenty.

Yet Another Anon

I dont want to drop my parents in it. Thats why it MUST BE LAW!!!!
Falsifying pay records for purposes of immigration surely is already illegal, if the Immigration Office have reason to believe that the marriage is solely for the purpose of bringing someone into the country then they won't recognise it, ultimately if the police can't proove that anything illegal has been going on why will slapping it under another Law with the tag Forced Marriages mean that they will be any more able to proove it - it is unlikely to achieve anything except for wasting parliaments time and adding another largely useless law onto the Statute Books.

William Norton

There were emotional scenes at the Old Bailey today in the case of the Crown vs Kevin Dull on charges of procuring a forced marriage.

Mrs Dull (nee Ms Ditzy Golddigger) giving evidence said: "Your lordship, he forced me into marriage with cruel and unusual methods - sob, sniff - He plied me with champagne and caviar and told me he was a telecoms magnate handling billions of pounds - sniff, sniff - but now I know -- "
(There was then a pause as Mrs Dull retrieved an onion from her expensive Prada handbag)
"-- that he's just a nobody from the accounts dept at BT"
(witness breaks down in uncontrollable tears)

The case continues.

Deputy Editor

Not only was this piece picked up by the NRO, but a Boston talk show are interviewing Louise about it tonight!

Annabel Herriott

Yet another anon. I said these old ex pats are cunning. Too cunning to leave a trail that could only be exposed by a nervous daughter with too much to lose. I repeat. It must be law.
And William N. Very funny, but we are talking about abused asian girls here, not little gold diggers who want to nab a premier league footballer. Any judge worth his salt will spot one of those at the door.

Tim Almond

There is no forced marriage in the UK.

A marriage has to take place in a Church or Registry office with witnesses present.

The registrar has to ask for the parties to give their consent to the marriage. At that point, the woman can say no.

If you are talking about women being threatened if they do not marry someone, we have laws about that already. If you are talking about women being threatened with violence in a marriage, we have laws about that too.

Yet Another Anon

Yet another anon. I said these old ex pats are cunning. Too cunning to leave a trail that could only be exposed by a nervous daughter with too much to lose. I repeat. It must be law.
Parliament could pass laws saying that there would be no more unhappiness and that poverty was abolished forever, but that doesn't mean it would happen - what new crimes would such a bill create that are not already considered crimes already? Otherwise surely it's better to strengthen existing laws and maybe lower burdens of proof required, otherwise there is a danger that what are currently crimes will no longer be enforced generally but only when it relates to specific issues such as Forced Marriage - does this mean that if kidnap, murder, rape of falsifying records is done otherwise then this is going to be ignored because it doesn't relate to a Forced Marriage? because that's the big danger.

Denis Cooper

Just needs to be tightened up and operated properly, except that the registrar should actually interview each party alone and in confidence to check that they are both willing to marry and are under no duress.


A legal document covered by the Perjury Act 1911, a notice of marriage states the names of the people to be married, age, marital status, address, occupation, nationality and the intended venue for the marriage. After giving notice you must then wait a further sixteen days before the marriage can take place. Once given, your notice is valid for 12 months.

You both have to give a Notice of Marriage in person in the District in which you live, even if you both live in the same District, and pay a fee. Each party is also required to declare their nationality. You may need to produce some or all of the following when you give your Notice of Marriage. All documents must be the original (photocopies are not acceptable): Birth certificate; Passport; Decree Absolute (if a previous marriage has ended in divorce); Previous marriage certificate and spouse’s death certificate (if you have been widowed); Any name change deed; An item showing your current address, e.g. driving licence or a utility bill; Parental, court or Guardian permission may be needed for anyone aged 16 to 18 who wants to get married. From here on, it all depends whether you’ve chosen a register office wedding or to marry in a licensed civil venue as to what happens next.


The Muslim calendar works on a lunar cycle, so there are no fixed days for weddings. However, it is forbidden to marry on the two days of Eid, which occur after the feast of Ramadan, and the Day of Pilgrimage. It is also impossible to marry on the Day of Ashura, which falls on either the 9th or 10th day of the Islamic first month. There is also no fixed notice period required before marriage, as, in Islam, there’s no registrar system.

Once you’ve settled on the ideal date and approximate time, you need to speak to the Iman of the mosque, or your local cleric. You must also arrange the Mahar, the gift from husband to wife, which is an important part of the ceremony. There is no marriage license in the Muslim wedding (though the witnesses need to sign a ‘proof of Nikah’, which testifies that the marriage has taken place and that the bride has given her full consent). Any male Muslim who understands the traditions of Islam may perform the ceremony, although many mosques have dedicated marriage officers. In most cases, however, the Qazi – an elder of the mosque – will officiate in the service. No female Muslim may officiate in the service.

Yet Another Anon

It isn't actually part of Islam, Arranged Marriages and Forced Marriages are a cultural not a religious tradition - they are as much a feature among South Asian Hindu's, Sikhs, Christians as among Muslims, in fact especially when they involve questions of caste - Islam, Sikhism and Christianity have no concept of caste, in fact the Koran and the various rules of Sikhism that have developed over the centuries specifically say that caste systems are forbidden, on the other hand Hinduism included originally a very strict caste system and to some extent Forced Marriages are down to a continuing influence of this among people whose familys have long since converted to other religions.

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