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Weddings: Covid-19 Restrictions

Volume 677: debated on Thursday 11 June 2020

What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the extent to which covid-19 restrictions will apply to weddings taking place in (a) 2020 and (b) 2021. (903084)

In step 2 of our road map to recovery, we are committed to exploring how we can enable people to gather in slightly larger groups to better facilitate small weddings. My right hon. Friend the Justice Secretary is exploring with ministerial colleagues a range of measures to do that.

Thousands of couples planning to tie the knot this year have had their plans postponed by the pandemic. The next few weeks, as we approach midsummer day, would of course have been peak season. Through no fault of their own, they will have none of the legal protections of marriage until next year—maybe longer—when they can reschedule. Will the Government consider creating a temporary declaration of intent for those couples, backed by the state, so that they are not prejudiced in law or taxation before they finally take the plunge?

May I thank my hon. Friend for the campaign he has been running? I have spoken at length with him on many Cabinet Office calls about the cases he has in his constituency. I know that some of his cases, and those of many hon. Members across the House, will involve older people who are taking greater risks. Many people will have gone back into work for the NHS and are deeply concerned, should they become infected, what that would mean for their fiancé/e. The Justice Secretary is apprised of the issue. I think there are some difficulties with the particular route my hon. Friend sets out, but I know that my right hon. Friend will be bringing forward measures very soon.