The Justice Secretary has admitted that reforms to divorce laws are likely to lead to a spike in the number of marriages ending.
MPs are debating a Bill that will reform the existing fault-based system for divorce to reduce conflict between partners.
David Gauke told MPs the changes are likely to lead to an initial spike in divorces before levelling off again.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Gauke said: “There will be, for example, people who currently are waiting for two or five years for a divorce and that divorce will be brought forward.
“So, the likelihood is there will be an increase because of, if you like, that waiting list.
“But the international evidence suggests that once that initial spike has been dealt with – in a steady state – the divorce rate is unlikely to increase and it is likely to remain much the same.”
Meanwhile, Tory MP Fiona Bruce (Congleton) expressed fears the new rules would make divorces “easier” and undermine the importance of marriage.
Ms Bruce said: “I sadly believe it will make divorce easier. Why do I say that? Simply because it will allow one party to walk away from the most important commitment they are likely to have made in their lifetime without giving any reason at all, and without their spouse being able to meaningfully object.”
She added: “I am particularly concerned about the signals being sent out by this Bill to young people today.
“It sends out a signal that marriage can be unilaterally exited on notice by one party with little if any recourse for the party that has been left. A signal, I fear, that marriage need no longer be entered into with the intention of it being a life-long commitment as it is today.”