Tip: To match a phrase, use quotation marks around the search term. eg. "Parliamentary Estate"


View sample alert
Written Question
Marriage
Tuesday 23rd March 2021

Asked by: Tulip Siddiq (Labour - Hampstead and Kilburn)

Question to the Cabinet Office:

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the scientific basis is for the Government's decision to restrict marriage ceremonies to places of worship or public buildings.

Answered by Penny Mordaunt - Minister of State (Department for International Trade)

Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships was published on 22 March and can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships#wedding-and-civil-partnership-ceremony-venues

We recognise that any restrictions on wedding venues may be disappointing for those planning such events, but we have to take necessary steps to limit transmission of COVID-19. This includes the closure of some settings and restrictions on social contact, including wedding and civil partnership ceremonies. By their very nature, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are events that bring families and friends together, making them particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19. We appreciate the sacrifices people have had to make across the COVID-19 pandemic and we do not wish to keep any restrictions in place longer than we need to.

In the COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021, the Government has set out the gradual and cautious approach to reopening in England, guided by science and the data, including the staged return of weddings and civil partnerships, as well as sporting events.

In order to inform the pace and sequencing of the roadmap, the Government commissioned advice and modelling from SAGE and its sub-groups. Scientific evidence supporting the government response to coronavirus is regularly published here - https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/scientific-evidence-supporting-the-government-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19.


Written Question
Weddings: Coronavirus
Thursday 18th February 2021

Asked by: Tulip Siddiq (Labour - Hampstead and Kilburn)

Question to the Cabinet Office:

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what scientific evidence his Department is using to base its decision to restrict marriage ceremonies to only couples with exceptional circumstances under the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Answered by Penny Mordaunt - Minister of State (Department for International Trade)

On 4 January, the Prime Minister announced a National Lockdown for all of England, in accordance with growing evidence of virus prevalence. Under these new restrictions, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies should only take place in exceptional circumstances. Up to six people can attend (including the couple). Anyone working is not included in that limit.

We recognise the restrictions may be disappointing for those planning such events. By their nature, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are events that bring families and friends together, including from across the country and sometimes across the world, making them particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19. We do not wish to keep restrictions in place for any longer than we have to, and restrictions will be kept under review in line with the changing situation. For further information, please refer to the guidance for small weddings and civil partnerships https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships. There is different advice for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The government continues to regularly make available scientific evidence supporting its COVID-19 response, including at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/scientific-evidence-supporting-the-government-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

On 22 February, the Prime Minister will set out the plan for reopening schools, and gradually reopening the economy and society, in a sustainable way in England.

For further information, please refer to the Coronavirus (COVID‑19) page on gov.uk, which will publish further information regarding the roadmap on 22 February, https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.


Written Question
Civil Partnerships and Marriage: Coronavirus
Tuesday 8th September 2020

Asked by: Daniel Kawczynski (Conservative - Shrewsbury and Atcham)

Question to the Ministry of Justice:

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether the Government plans to extend the validity period of marriage and civil partnership notices as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Answered by Alex Chalk - Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)

We understand the frustration couples who have had to postpone their wedding or civil partnership must be feeling.

The requirement to solemnize a marriage within twelve months of giving notice to marry is set out in primary legislation, which does not provide for extending this period. It would require primary legislation to change this. In the meantime, the fees charged by local authorities for giving notice can be reduced, waived or refunded on compassionate grounds or in cases of hardship. It is for each local authority to determine when this can be applied.


Written Question
Civil Partnerships and Marriage: Coronavirus
Monday 6th July 2020

Asked by: Jane Stevenson (Conservative - Wolverhampton North East)

Question to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to update guidance on marriages and civil partnerships to allow wedding receptions to be held after ceremonies during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Paul Scully - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

We recognise the importance of weddings to people, both to couples wishing to get married and their friends and families, and the wider industry which enables weddings to take place.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has announced that wedding ceremonies of up to 30 people can resume from 4 July. The Government is continuing to engage with representatives from the industry to explore how wedding celebrations, including receptions, may be resumed in a Covid-secure way, once it is safe to do so.


Written Question
Marriage and Civil Partnerships: Coronavirus
Thursday 25th June 2020

Asked by: John Spellar (Labour - Warley)

Question to the Cabinet Office:

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to allow weddings and civil partnership ceremonies to recommence.

Answered by Penny Mordaunt - Minister of State (Department for International Trade)

The Government understands the huge significance of weddings. We recognise that because weddings have not been able to take place in recent months this has caused difficulty and distress for many people. As set out in the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, published in May, the Government has been examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups better to facilitate small weddings. We have worked closely with faith leaders and local government on how best to achieve this. The Prime Minister announced on 23 June that wedding and civil partnership ceremonies will be able to take place in England from 4 July. People should avoid having a large ceremony, and should invite no more than thirty family and friends. Venues should ensure they are COVID-19 secure.


Written Question
Marriage: Coronavirus
Monday 8th June 2020

Asked by: Darren Henry (Conservative - Broxtowe)

Question to the Ministry of Justice:

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether legislative proposals are required to amend the law to enable weddings, including death-bed weddings, to take place during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Alex Chalk - Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)

We understand the frustration couples planning a wedding must be feeling, and as with all coronavirus restrictions we will look to ease them as soon as it is safe to do so.

Statute law provides that marriages must be solemnized, and civil partnerships formed, in certain types of location and in the presence of certain people, including witnesses. We continue to explore what potential changes to the requirements for marriage and civil partnership might assist couples – where restrictions remain in place or where infection control means that the requirements cannot be met – without undermining the safeguards in the system.


Written Question
Civil Partnerships and Marriage: Coronavirus
Monday 8th June 2020

Asked by: Darren Henry (Conservative - Broxtowe)

Question to the Ministry of Justice:

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans the Government has to allow witnesses to marriages and civil partnerships to attend remotely as the covid-19 lockdown is eased.

Answered by Alex Chalk - Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)

We understand the frustration couples planning a wedding must be feeling, and as with all coronavirus restrictions we will look to ease them as soon as it is safe to do so.

Statute law provides that marriages must be solemnized, and civil partnerships formed, in certain types of location and in the presence of certain people, including witnesses. We continue to explore what potential changes to the requirements for marriage and civil partnership might assist couples – where restrictions remain in place or where infection control means that the requirements cannot be met – without undermining the safeguards in the system.


Written Question
Civil Partnerships and Marriage: Coronavirus
Monday 11th May 2020

Asked by: Diana Johnson (Labour - Kingston upon Hull North)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Office, whether she has plans to suspend notice fees for (a) marriages and (b) civil partnerships for couples that have been required to cancel their wedding as a result of the covid-19 outbreak and whose notice period will expire before the wedding can be rearranged.

Answered by Kevin Foster - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

The notice fee is paid to the local authority and is for the service provided at the time the notice is given. Fees can be reduced, waived or refunded on compassionate grounds or in cases of hardship, and it is for each local authority to determine when this can be applied.