Baroness Shreela Flather
Baroness Shreela Flather says couples should undergo DNA test to prevent marriage between cousins and disabilities.Getty Images

Britain's first Asian peer has stressed that couples should be forced to do a DNA test to prevent marriage between cousins and the resulting disabilities.

Baroness Shreela Flather condemned the "absolutely appalling" first cousin marriages common in Pakistani communities that have led to "so much disability among children".

"There are a lot of first-cousin marriages in certain communities, particularly among Pakistanis who come from the Pakistani Kashmir area. We know so much about DNA now, but there is so much disability among the children, which is absolutely appalling," said Flather, reported The Telegraph.

"You go to any such family and there will be four or five children, at least one or two of whom will have some disability. That is absolutely unacceptable, and if we cannot do anything about it, is it fair to the children?"

Flather said it's unfair to allow a social practice to fuel so many disabilities among children.

"It is a social practice which does not belong in today's age, when we know so much about DNA. There should at least be some rule which says that you must have a DNA examination before your marriage can be registered," said Flather.

First cousin marriages are common to Pakistanis living inside and outside the country and despite several many cases of disabled children, the practice continues on.