Mon, 17 May 2021

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Government-backed bill to crack down on female genital mutilation due ‘imminently'

Government-backed bill to crack down on female genital mutilation due ‘imminently'
2 min read

A government-backed bill to crack down on female genital mutilation could come before the Commons within days after the Prime Minister threw her weight behind the proposals.

The bill – championed by Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith – would allow courts to issue protection orders over children thought to be at risk of FGM.

Mr Goldsmith had originally sought to beef up the 1998 Children Act to bring in the changes but was blocked by fellow Tory MP Sir Christopher Chope.

Sir Christopher - who previously came under fire for blocking a bill toughening up laws on upskirting - shouted "object" when the Government-supported bid came before the Commons on Friday, halting its legislative progress.

Earlier this month, the mother of a three-year-old girl became the first person in the UK to be prosecuted for the crime after doctors raised concerns about her child’s welfare.

Addressing MPs at Prime Ministers Questions earlier today, Mrs May said she would now ensure the bill would be debated on Government time.

“It is only right that we find time for this bill, and the Government will find time to deliver it”, she said. “We have strengthened the law on FGM, leading to that first conviction.

“We are helping communities around the world to end this appalling crime, but it is important that we give time to this bill and act further to end what is an abhorrent crime, that scars young girls for the rest of their lives, both physically and mentally.”

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister confirmed the government would be “imminently” seeking time to put the bill before MPs.

A number of senior government minister had hit out at Sir Christopher for blocking the bill - including Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Mr Javid said: “Very disappointed by this. FGM is child abuse. I am determined to stamp out this despicable and medieval practice. We will do all we can to protect girls at risk.”

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