The dangers of marriage between first cousins are to be highlighted by a leading professor, with a warning that their children are at risk of genetic defects.
Baroness Deech, a family law professor and crossbencher, will call next week for a "vigorous" public campaign to deter the practice, which is prevalent in Muslim and immigrant communities and on the rise. She will reignite a debate started five years ago when Ann Cryer, MP for Keighley, drew attention to the number of disabled babies being born in the town and called for cousin marriage to be stopped.
Fifty-five per cent of British Pakistanis are married to first cousins and in Bradford the figure is 75 per cent. British Pakistanis represent 3 per cent of all births in Britain but one third of children with recessive disorders.