PENDLE MP Andrew Stephenson has said it was time to “draw a line in the sand” over the issue of forced marriage.
Home Secretary Theresa May announced parents who force their children to marry will face jail under new laws. Forced marriage will become a criminal offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It comes after warnings that up to 8,000 young women a year are forced into marriages without their consent.
The Home Office consultation, which closed at the end of March, was launched at the request of Prime Minister David Cameron, who said last year that forced marriage was “little more than slavery” and “completely wrong”.
Mr Stephenson, who has raised this issue in the House of Commons, said: “I have been calling for this for some time, so welcome the Government’s decision following an extensive consultation.
“Forced marriage is completely wrong and while a new law will not in itself eradicate this problem, it will draw a clear line in the sand and send out a powerful message.
“We must protect vulnerable women, and in some case men, who are forced to marry against their will and I believe this change in the law is long overdue.”