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by Jenni Davidson
16 December 2016
SNP MP’s bill to ratify the Istanbul Convention gets backing of parliament

SNP MP’s bill to ratify the Istanbul Convention gets backing of parliament

SNP MP for Banff and Buchan Eilidh Whiteford - Image credit: UK Parliament

MPs have today overwhelmingly backed SNP MP Eilidh Whiteford’s bill to ratify the Istanbul Convention on violence against women

Whiteford published her private member’s bill last week calling on the UK Government to ratify the international treaty.

The UK Government signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, more commonly known as the Istanbul Convention, in 2012, but not yet passed it into UK law.

MPs approved the second reading of Whiteford’s Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Bill 2016-17 by 135 to two.

The only two MPs to oppose the motion were Conservatives Philip Davies and David Nuttall.

Davies talked for over an hour as he appeared to attempt to filibuster the bill.

The MP for Shipley took issue with the fact it only refers to violence against women as “discriminatory and sexist”, saying he believes in “true equality”.

He said: "I have a fundamental objection to the whole premise that we only need to deal with violence against women."

Following the second reading, the bill will progress to the committee stage before returning to parliament for a third reading.

Home office minister Brandon Lewis confirmed the UK Government would back the bill, but seek some amendments at the committee stage regarding the timetable put forward in it.

Commenting on today’s result, Whiteford said: “Today, Parliament sent out a strong signal to women across the UK that a life without violence is not inevitable and it can be prevented.

“It is such a great early Christmas present to women, and I’m thankful for the support of such a range of cross-party MPs.

“The Istanbul Convention lays the groundwork for us to do more to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence here in the UK and overseas.

“It is the best piece of violence against women legislation that has ever been written, anywhere.

“Obviously today’s vote is only the start of the Parliamentary process, and I’m looking forward to working with MPs across the House for the subsequent stages.”

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