HC Deb 21 May 1957 vol 570 cc1007-8
6. Mrs. Mann

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take steps, by legislation if necessary, to deter persons residing outside Scotland, who wish to evade the marriage laws of their own country, from entering Scotland for the purpose, in view of the fact that Scottish people are opposed to this practice and that it frequently occupies the time of Scottish courts.

14. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will introduce legislation to regulate the marriage in Scotland of young persons not normally resident in Scotland.

Mr. Maclay

I understand that a recent judgment in the Sheriff court as to the effect under Scottish law of a requirement of parental consent imposed by the marriage law of the country of domicile is at present under appeal to the Court of Session. In these circumstances it would be inappropriate for me to make any statement.

Mrs. Mann

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that already a Lord Justice of the Court of Session, Lord Cameron, has given a decision that these marriages are invalid, and do we really require a still higher appeal? Is it not time that the whole business was stopped and an end put to this method of using Scotland as a "dumping ground"?

Mr. Maclay

I cannot add to what I have said, as there is a case which is sub judice.

Mr. Thomson

Is the Secretary of State aware that there is general anxiety that Scotland is becoming a sort of inverted Reno to which young people from other parts of the world can come to evade their own laws? While appreciating that this matter is sub judice, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will look at the decision of the appeal court and bear in mind the comment of the Sheriff of Inverness that this may well be a matter which should have the attention of the legislature?

Mr. Maclay

Obviously, I shall watch events very closely.

Mr. Woodburn

May I say to the Secretary of State that I hope we shall not become "killjoys" in this matter? There are many countries which find great difficulty in persuading people to get married at all, and I do not think that we should put too many obstacles in the way of love's young dream.