Husbands with multiple wives have been given the go-ahead to claim extra welfare benefits following a year-long Government review, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
Even though bigamy is a crime in Britain, the decision by ministers means that polygamous marriages can now be recognised formally by the state, so long as the weddings took place in countries where the arrangement is legal.
Yep, bigamy is punishable by up to seven years in prison for the rest of you poor sods, but one must be willing to make sacrifices when seeking cultural rapprochement.
The outcome will chiefly benefit Muslim men with more than one wife, as is permitted under Islamic law. Ministers estimate that up to a thousand polygamous partnerships exist in Britain, although they admit there is no exact record.
Chiefly but not exclusively Muslim men? Hmmm. We'll see how that works out. And I predict they'll soon know exactly how many bigamists there are - after all it would be foolish to turn down this taxpayer largesse.
The decision has been condemned by the Tories, who accused the Government of offering preferential treatment to a particular group, and of setting a precedent that would lead to demands for further changes in British law.
No kidding! What's next? How about a little stoning of errant wives and children? Why not drop all those annoying investigations into honor killings since it's part of their Islamic culture, dontcha know, and we must celebrate diversity.
Income support for all of the wives may be paid directly into the husband's bank account, if the family so choose. Under the deal agreed by ministers, a husband with multiple wives may also be eligible for additional housing benefit and council tax benefit to reflect the larger property needed for his family.
Isn't it nice how convenient they make it. Three cheers for a well-functioning bureaucracy!
Islamic law permits men to have up to four wives at any one time - known as a harem - provided the husband spends equal amounts of time and money on each of them.
I'm not clear as to whether this tradition is being adhered to. If so, no doubt taxpayers will be asked to pick up the plane fare and other travel expenses.