New measures to prevent female genital mutilation have been welcomed by UKIP health spokesman Louise Bours MEP.
“This barbaric practice has been illegal in this country since 1985 but it is only this year that there have been prosecutions” she said.
A £1.4m prevention programme aimed at ending the practice is being unveiled today by David Cameron at a global summit in London.
“I understand the difficulties in investigating this crime and I feel the real answer lies in educating young girls that it is their right to say ‘no’ to FGM” said Ms Bours, North West MEP.
“This is a widespread practice in 29 countries in Africa and also in some Asian and Middle Eastern countries and it is estimated that up to 170,000 women and girls living in England and Wales could have undergone it.
“It is very much a hidden situation but it is a terrible violation of female rights. It is a tradition but that does not make it okay. Many traditions are fine and should be preserved but this is not one of them,” said Ms Bours.
“There is no medical reason for this practice, which can take different forms, and it can lead to infection, permanent pain on urination, infertility and even death in childbirth. It causes physical as well as psychological harm and must be stamped out.
“I am glad to hear that the situation is slowly improving but across the globe 30 million girls are at risk and that is awful. It may actually prove easier to address the problem existing in this country, with its modern Western attitudes, than in the lands where it originates from.
“Forced marriage is another serious problem, which also violates womens’ rights, and I am glad that that issue is also to be addressed at the summit” said Ms Bours, who is a substitute member of the EU Women’s Rights & Gender Equality committee.
I have now completed my first week as a Member of the European Parliament for the North West region, and would like to thank every one of your readers who voted in the Euro-elections in May.
They were important elections at a vital time in determining Britain’s future.
More people than ever voted for UKIP, increasing the number of UKIP MEPs in the North West from one to three.
It is undeniable that a huge number of voters want to turn their back on our current relationship with the EU, and on my first day as an official MEP I symbolically reflected the wishes of the electorate by turning my back on the undemocratically appointed EU President, and the playing of the EU anthem.
The UK already has an anthem of its own, that I do not want to disrespect by allying to another.
Although my back turning was merely symbolic, over the course of the next five years I am determined to do every practical thing I can to regain sovereignty from the EU and to protect all residents of the North West (whether they voted for me or not) from the damage the EU can do to the region.
Over the years both Labour and the Tories have ignored the North West and left us to rot because they see us as very distant from their beloved London and the South East.
Since our distance from London means we get ignored by Westminster, obviously we don’t stand a chance of getting a good deal from Brussels.
I would like to assure readers that whilst Brussels is distant and remote from the North West, I am not. I am from the area, still live here, and will spend the next five years being open to hearing the concerns of my constituents and helping where ever I can.
You have trusted me to represent you and you have my word – I will do my very best for you.
Having only been elected on the Sunday, it was a surprise to find myself sitting as a panellist on BBC TV’s ‘Question Time’ alongside Piers Morgan and footballer Joey Barton (pictured courtesy of the BBC), on the following Thursday – it was certainly a ‘baptism of fire’!
I think the producers probably thought the show would revolve around their two ‘celebrity’ panellists, I on the other hand, thought the show should be about the folk who had gone out and voted for UKIP in the European and local elections the previous week.
Thanks to the pomposity of Morgan and the clumsy ‘ugly girl’ metaphor from Barton, I was able to put up a spirited and vocal defence, the public seemed to enjoy it too – if the viewers enjoy watching a current affairs show, they’ll talk about it in the pub and at the office – that’s got to be good for politics all round!
As a newly elected UKIP MEP, I had mixed feelings about my first visit to the European Parliament in Brussels.
After all, I am visiting a parliament which I believe shouldn’t exist;
however, I should, and will be there to act as the eyes and ears of the British people.
Here in our part of the world, we haven’t really felt the benefits of the economic recovery yet – our house prices aren’t rocketing and many people’s wages remain stagnant, we are still very much in ‘austerity Britain’.
Within the European Parliament things are very different – a fleet of black Mercedes limousines’ and their accompanying chauffeurs wait in the huge underground car park.
A cocktail party, where Champagne flows freely, takes place every evening at 6pm (UKIP MEP’s choose not to attend); the President, Martin Schulz, spent a small fortune on DHL secure mail, sending every single newly elected MEP across Europe, a personalised letter, which said absolutely nothing at all about anything of any importance.
Austerity may still be felt here in the North West but Brussels doesn’t even know the meaning of the word.