HC Deb 28 April 1966 vol 727 cc933-4
23. Mr. Abse

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that the requirement that marriages are normally only to be solemnised in a building within the registry office district in which one of the parties has resided or, in the case of marriage by banns, in a church in the parish of which one of the parties resides, ca uses public inconvenience; whether he is aware that there is widespread evasion of these requirements; and whether, to avoid many marriages being celebrated consequent upon deceptions relating to residence requirements, he will introduce legislation to enable people to marry where they wish.

Miss Bacon

My right hon. Friend is aware that the residence requirements for marriage have been criticised on these grounds, and while he cannot make proposals for amending legislation at present, the Registrar-General will report on the matter as a result of the review of the law on the formalities connected with marriage which he has undertaken.

Mr. Abse

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the fact that the existing laws were framed for an era when people were born, lived, and died, in the same parish? In view of the widespread distress among registrars throughout the country, will my right hon. Friend give an undertaking that this inquiry to which she referred will be expedited so that these deceptions which are so widespread can cease?

Miss Bacon

I cannot give an assurance today as to when the report will be received, but we know that there is a difficulty here, and we should like to have the Registrar-General's report before coming to any decision.