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

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:37 pm on 11th March 2019.

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Photo of Chris Green Chris Green Conservative, Bolton West 9:37 pm, 11th March 2019

It is a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend Eddie Hughes and his insight into this severe problem and the historical context of the evils from so many years ago still being visited on children and women to this very day.

So many of the points that I would have made have already been made and I am conscious of the limitation on time. I send my appreciations to Sarah Champion for her insight into this problem and the points that she made, and to my hon. Friend Zac Goldsmith for his insight into the French system, which is very different from the one in the UK. It is perhaps not right that we look to the French when thinking about what system to adopt in the United Kingdom.

It is a significant problem that FGM was first made a criminal offence in the United Kingdom in 1985 but to date there has been only one successful prosecution. I understand that there have been three unsuccessful prosecutions in the UK. Successful prosecutions, and significant sentences to go with them, would form a deterrent. That would contribute to deterring people from engaging with and supporting FGM. We are right to have a zero-tolerance attitude to FGM and I welcome this amendment to the 1989 Act, but will my hon. and learned Friend the Minister say what more can be done to deliver a zero-tolerance approach to FGM?