More than 1,000 British men are thought to have more than one wife
Politicians are too scared to discuss multiple marriages in case they offend Muslims, shadow minister for Community Cohesion Baroness Warsi has claimed.
The Muslim peer blamed “cultural sensitivity” for the failure to tackle the problem of polygamy.
She wants the Government to consider ordering that all religious marriages must be registered, as civil ceremonies are, in order to stop men marrying more than one wife.
More than 1,000 British men are thought to have more than one wife. Although bigamy is illegal in the UK, those who have moved here after marrying more than one woman in Islamic countries are allowed to remain in polygamous partnerships – and can even claim benefits for their additional spouses.
Lady Warsi, the shadow minister for community cohesion, told the BBC: “There has been a failure on the part of policymakers to respond to this situation.
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“Some of it has been done in the name of cultural sensitivity and we’ve just avoided either discussing or dealing with this matter head-on.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice insisted: “It is government policy to prevent the formation of polygamous households in the United Kingdom.
“Polygamous marriages that have been contracted in overseas countries are legally recognised, although immigration rules prevent a man from bringing more than one wife to settle with him in the UK.
“It is not the role of government to take a position on the rites, beliefs or practices of any particular religious faith, other than where these give rise to conflict with the common law.”