John Howell (Henley) (Con)
My hon. Friend makes a strong point. Has she looked at minimum ages around the world? There seems to be quite a large variation, particularly in places such as Africa, where it can be as low as 13 in some countries. Has she looked at comparative ages in the rest of Europe?
I have not actually looked at comparative ages in the rest of Europe. However, certainly in Africa and other developing countries, there is a wide range. We ask African countries and anywhere that we send development money to not to allow children to marry, and to set the minimum age at 18. They turn to us and ask why they should listen, because we allow children to marry. That is another very good reason why we should increase the age to 18.