by Ian Shires on 12 February, 2019
The Liberal Democrats have today secured assurances that a Bill on female genital mutilation (FGM) will be introduced in Government time, but have called for the way in which Private Members Bills’ are debated to be reassessed.
Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse secured the assurance during her Urgent Question today. The Bath MP pressed the issue after a Private Member’s Bill on FGM was dismissed on Friday after Conservative MP Christopher Chope objected.
Following the Urgent Question, Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse said:
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It is severely disappointing that I have had to ask the Minister to bring this issue back to the Chamber today. The Conservatives should be ashamed to have Members on their benches with such outdated views about women and who fail to recognise the urgent need to protect vulnerable girls.
We need far greater protection for children who are at risk of female genital mutilation, with clear evidence that it is on the rise. We cannot be in a situation where action is only ever taken after the crime has been committed, and after these girls have undergone unsafe, life-changing, and potentially life-threatening surgery.
It is a relief to to see that the Government have taken it upon themselves to introduce this legislation, after one of their own backbenches blocked it. It is time to reassess the way in which Private Members Bills’ are debated to ensure that one aged dinosaur MP cannot obstruct the progress of vital legislation out of spite in future.