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 thank the hon. Lady for her intervention and I agree with it, as this is a cross-cutting issue. A colleague suggested earlier that this should form part of personal, social, health and economic education in this country, which it now will, but it is a Home Office issue and a health issue, too. It covers a lot of different Departments. If there is anything at all that I or the all-party group and my colleagues on it can do to help in the case the hon. Lady has just raised, we are at her service and will do what we can.

Despite the laws we have in place and the injection of funds to campaigning on this issue around the world, clearly there are gaps in the law and the problem has not gone away. In 2016-17, the NHS reported 9,179 cases of FGM, of which 5,391 were newly recorded cases. As hon. Members will know, there has been only one successful prosecution for FGM, after numerous failed attempts; this came to an end last week with a 37-year-old woman being sentenced to 11 years.