Coronavirus: Changes to wedding rules ‘under consideration’

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The justice secretary has indicated there may be changes to lockdown rules which has led to weddings being cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Robert Buckland told BBC Radio 4 he was giving “anxious consideration” to the effect of potential changes.

Weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies have been put on hold because of the ban on gatherings of more than two people to stop the disease spreading.

Mr Buckland was questioned after PM Boris Johnson’s TV address on Sunday.

He used the broadcast to outline a “conditional plan” to reopen society in England.

It did not mention weddings or any other large social gatherings.

The issue of weddings came up on BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour, when panellist Katy Balls, the Spectator’s deputy political editor, told the programme she was due to be going on honeymoon.

Ms Balls had planned to go away a week after getting married, but said “both things are going to have to wait” which she believes could be “for quite some time” after listening to Mr Johnson’s speech.

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Mr Buckland said he was giving a “lot of anxious consideration to the effect of the potential changes” to rules on marriage ceremonies, urging people to “watch this space, we’re working on it.”

He added there are some people who really want to get married “because things are happening in their life that means they might not be together for a long time”.

One such case is that of Roy Wilson, who has terminal bone cancer. He married his long-term partner in hospital after he began showing symptoms of Covid-19.

Mr Wilson, who tested negative for the virus, married Jill Hird after securing special dispensation from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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Media captionCouples get married in virtual ceremonies

Before the government announced the lockdown on 23 March, the Church of England restricted wedding ceremonies to five people – including the bride and groom, the priest and two witnesses.

Some couples have opted to hold virtual wedding ceremonies, inviting their friends and family to watch them via video conferencing apps.

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