Chris Bryant to marry in House of Commons

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Parliament will host its first ever civil partnership ceremony this weekend, when Foreign Office minister Chris Bryant and his partner Jared Cranney tie the knot.

Political figures such as William Hague and Charles Kennedy have previously used the House of Commons as a venue for their marriages, but up until now civil partnerships have not been permitted.

But Bryant, himself an ordained Anglican priest, and Cranney will not be able to use the Chapel of St Mary in Parliament for their big day, as civil partnerships cannot be held in church.

To get around this Saturday’s ceremony will be held in the members’ dining room, overlooking the Thames.

The door was opened for the change in rules after the Speaker of the House of Commons lent his support.

Speaking to ePolitix.com in November last year, John Bercow said it was not a question of how many people would benefit from the move but rather “the principle involved.”

“It is possible for members of parliament and senior officers of the House to get married in the House of Commons,” he said.

“They do so in the crypt, the chapel of St Mary Undercroft.

“I see no reason why we should not be able to make comparable arrangements for civil partnerships or indeed civil marriages.”

And Gordon Brown came out in favour of the change during an appearance at the Speaker’s conference in October.

He told the committee: “Just as marriages can take place in the House, we hope Mr Speaker will consider that civil ceremonies could take place here.”

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