HC Deb 21 March 1922 vol 152 cc220-1

asked the Home Secretary whether any, and what, official was responsible for the nonexistence or non-production of licences in the cases of marriages at Oxhey recently confirmed by Provisional Order; and whether he has taken or can take any steps to guard against this kind of informality occurring in other cases?


According to the information supplied to me, the vicar of the parish was responsible. A clergyman who knowingly and wilfully solemnises a marriage without publication of banns or production of a licence is of course committing an offence against the Marriage Act and is liable to be proceeded against under that Act but I was advised that in this case there was not sufficient evidence on which proceedings could have been taken. I have been in communication with the Bishop of the Diocese who informs me that, in the absence of sufficient evidence, there is no action which he can usefully take. I am afraid there is nothing more that I can do in the matter.


If further evidence be supplied to the right hon. Gentleman's Department, will he bring it to the knowledge of the Public Prosecutor?


If my hon. Friend will give me any further evidence, I will put it before the Law Officers of the Crown, as I have done already.