HC Deb 13 March 1956 vol 550 c196
6. Mrs. Mann

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland by what authority the police stopped the marriage in Scotland of two English people whose names have been sent to him.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

In the case to which the hon. Member refers, the police did not take action for the purpose of stopping a marriage. They took to a place of safety a young person under 17 years of age whom they believed to be in need of care or protection.

Mrs. Mann

Was not that young person in Scotland for the purpose of getting married, and were not the labour exchange officials invoked to keep the couple talking until the police arrived? Will the hon. Gentleman impress on the Secretary of State that if the police can be brought in to assist in this case, and assuming that his figures are correct and that there were 133 Gretna marriages last year, there must be 532 English parents entitled to the same kind of intervention and service from the police? Is it not time that this old racket of flying away over the Border was cut out?

Mr. Stewart

I am unable to answer the last part of the supplementary question put by the hon. Lady; it does not arise on this Question. The police took this girl into safety because she was under seventeen years of age, as they were entitled to do under the Act of 1937. I should be glad to tell the hon. Lady what they did; I think they acted with commendable good sense and courtesy.