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

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:35 pm on 11th March 2019.

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Photo of Zac Goldsmith Zac Goldsmith Conservative, Richmond Park 7:35 pm, 11th March 2019

I could not agree more, and I am grateful to colleagues for being here to take part in this debate. I do not want to jinx it, but I hope this simple Bill will go through without a Division, which makes the presence of so many Members even more valued.

The anti-FGM legislation in the UK is not insubstantial—we have actually done a fair bit. FGM has been illegal here since the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985, which was replaced by the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 that made it illegal to assist someone performing FGM or to commit FGM abroad. The Serious Crime Act 2015 amended the 2003 Act to introduce mandatory reporting of FGM and to create the FGM protection orders that courts can issue to protect girls who have been or may become victims of FGM, which could include, for example, forcing the surrender of a passport to prevent travel abroad.

In addition to those laws, we can collectively be proud that we have taken a lead globally. The UK was the first country in the world to create a dedicated anti-FGM aid programme, with an initial tranche of £35 million pledged in 2013. Only a few weeks ago, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development committed a further £50 million, which has yet to be allocated, for the one purpose of helping countries around the world, but mostly in Africa.