HC Deb 26 November 1964 vol 702 cc1441-2
1. Mr. Brewis

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will introduce a uniform civil marriage ordinance for Hong Kong and withdraw legal recognition from marriages celebrated under Chinese marriage customs.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mrs. Eirene White)

I am not convinced that the measures proposed by the hon. Member would be appropriate in the circumstances in Hong Kong, but I fully recognise the need for some revision of the marriage laws of Hong Kong and I am in communication with the Governor on the subject.

Mr. Brewis

While thanking the hon. Lady for that reply, may I ask her if it is correct that these marriages by Chinese marriage custom are recognised in Hong Kong only and not in China and other nearby territories? Is it not time that something was done about it?

Mrs. White

There are very many considerations involved, not only of marriage but of inheritance. As the hon. Gentleman may know, a Government White Paper was issued in 1961. Various representations have been received, and we hope to be able to consider the matter further.

Miss Vickers

In view of the Marriage Convention of the United Nations and also the fact that the Singapore Government have very good marriage laws on similar lines, may I ask the hon. Lady if she will look into the matter and see what can be done about Hong Kong?

Mrs. White

I am quite sure that the authorities in Hong Kong are aware of the United Nations recommendations, and that the whole matter is still subject to discussion there.