Those of you who hoped that the resignation of David Blunkett, the most right-wing Home Secretary this country has had for decades, would have seen a shift to more liberal tolerance and understanding will be disappointed to hear of Home Office plans to remove some registry offices from their official list.
The reason behind the Home Office's action is that there are too many bloody foreigners getting married in London. Being born outside the EU apparently places you under automatic suspicion of organising a sham marriage, and the parody of Big Brother that is the Home Office has decided that residents of Richmond, Sutton, Bexley or Bromley must visit a registry office somewhere else to undergo intense interrogation before being allowed to return to their home boroughs to get married.
According to the story in the Standard, "up to one in five civil ceremonies are thought to be fake". Mind you, it doesn't attribute this thought to anyone, so for all we know, it could be the rabid musings of some Daily Mail-reading nutter.
This story's a bit of a slow burner, as the news actually broke at the end of last year, as a look on the Richmond Lib Dem site will testify, but the Evening Standard has finally picked up on it. Not surprisingly for the Standard, its story gives plenty of stats to back up the idea that somehow weddings in London are purely transactional affairs. To be fair, though, it at least gives space to the opponents of the plan. Disappointingly, these opponents seem to focus on the inconvenience aspect of the plans, rather than the underlying assumption that 'foreigners' are somehow less trustworthy than EU-born people and can pull the wool over Richmond Register Office's (but not Hounslow's) eyes.