Female Genital Mutilation — Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:37 am on 7th November 2013.

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Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health 11:37 am, 7th November 2013

My Lords, I am aware of that. I was a new Member of the House when that Act went through, and I commend the noble Baroness for the work she did on that issue. She mentioned France. One of the features of the French system is the physical examination of all girls under the age of five. We will not be following that path. We do not think it would be right to do so. We think it raises ethical and human rights concerns. However, all children are routinely seen by healthcare staff in the universal healthy child programme that covers England, and prevention and safeguarding absolutely underpin that programme. It is an important channel for conversations to be held with parents and children, so that they can be provided with relevant support and advice.