HC Deb 08 November 1962 vol 666 c1125
4. Mr. Lipton

asked the Attorney-General whether he will introduce legislation to abolish actions for breach of promise of marriage.

The Attorney-General


Mr. Lipton

May I press the Attorney-General to reconsider that reply? Now that men, for all practical purposes, no longer sue women for breach of promise, would it not be a good thing for the small minority of women with an inferiority complex to follow the good example of men in this respect, and, in any event, is is not better for a woman to find out before marriage rather than after marriage that the man does not want her?

The Attorney-General

Being myself a married man, I would not dream of suggesting that women ought to follow the example of men. The law in this respect is exactly equal for both. While I recognise that there may be some cases which are unsatisfactory when litigated in public, nevertheless.there are cases where very grave hardship indeed is caused to a woman, whose body may have been, taken possession of by promise of marriage, or who may have given ten of the best years of her life under the expectation that a man will marry her.

Miss Bacon

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that, while nearly all these cases are brought by women, the majority of the women in the country find the whole business most distasteful and would like to get rid of the whole degrading business?

The Attorney-General

I am perfectly aware, of course, that there are many cases where it would be much better if they were not ventilated in public, but that does not mean that because the circumstances surrounding the actions of our fellow citizens are sordid or unpleasant the law ought not to deal with the respective rights between the parties.