Istanbul Convention Bill passes Committee unopposed

SNP MP for Banff and Buchan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford
SNP MP for Banff and Buchan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford

SNP MP for Banff and Buchan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, welcomed today’s decision in Committee to progress her Private Member’s Bill to the next stage, unopposed.

During the debate which lasted just 30 minutes, the Government Minister outlined her intention to submit a number of amendments at Report Stage as MPs pushed her to commit to a solid timescale to ratify the Istanbul Convention.

Commenting after the Committee, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said: “The Istanbul Convention is the best piece of violence against women legislation that has ever been written, anywhere. Yet the UK has been waiting over four and a half years to ratify. This Bill is an attempt to give some impetus and urgency to the ratification process.

“I am grateful for the way in which the Minister has engaged with me on the run up to the Committee today, and for the commitments she made this afternoon. Ensuring that there is space for MPs to scrutinise the Government on this issue is vitally important, it cannot simply take the form of a written statement so I am pleased that the Minister committed to an annual Oral Statement.

“Today’s passage of the Bill is an important step in what is a very difficult and confusing process for Private Member’s Bills. The Minister made it clear there is to be primary legislative change to bring the UK in line with the Convention on Extra Territorial Jurisdiction - hopefully this Bill will dislodge the blockage to making that a reality.

“This Bill is for the women who are denied justice, who don’t simply have the time to wait on legislative change. Hopefully they won’t have to wait much longer.”