Children Act 1989 (Amendment) (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:09 pm on 11th March 2019.

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Photo of James Cleverly James Cleverly Deputy Chair, Conservative Party 8:09 pm, 11th March 2019

I thank my right hon. Friend for giving way and congratulate my hon. Friend Zac Goldsmith on opening this Third Reading debate. I have just come from a meeting in the Boothroyd Room of Sierra Leonean women who are discussing their attempts to eradicate FGM in Sierra Leone. The First Lady has recently sent rather mixed messages about FGM and has relied on cultural practice as a part justification. Does my right hon. Friend agree that we need to send out a very clear message that religious and cultural sensitivities cannot and must not be used as a shield to hide behind when practices such as this are being discussed either in school or in this place?