The Prime Minister has been asked to intervene to help a woman who suffered horrific domestic abuse for trying to protect her daughter from genital mutilation.
Lola Ilesamni was beaten and raped by her husband after refusing to allow her three year-old daughter to return to Nigeria to be circumcised.
She now faces deportation along with her daughter after having her right to work in the UK revoked by the Home Office.
Ms Ilesamni’s MP Hannah Bardell called on Theresa May to step in and ensure the family aren’t sent back to Nigeria, where millions of girls undergo circumcision despite it being illegal and a violation of human rights.
According to figures from UNICEF, one in four women in Nigeria, or approximately 20 million people, have suffered female genital mutilation (FGM), representing up to 10% of all those affected globally.
In the majority of cases, girls undergo the procedure before their fifth birthday. The practice is prevalent in North and Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as parts of the Middle East.
Charities estimate that 2,300 British girls are cut each year, with another 24,000 deemed at risk. This week Edinburgh Airport launched a campaign encouraging travellers to help identify girls being taken abroad to be cut.
During Prime Minister’s Questions, the Livingston MP said Ms Ilesamni had “her face smashed with an iPad, her body beaten, and [was] forced to abort a baby girl” in a campaign of abuse by her estranged husband.
“Lola is educated, has a mortgage, and had a good job with Royal Bank of Scotland until the Home Office revoked her right to work,” Ms Bardell said. “I have been writing to the Home Office since March, and have got nowhere.”
As Home Secretary, Mrs May promised to strengthen the law so that parents who allow their daughters to be cut would be prosecuted, and has said that “one girl subjected to FGM or forced to marry is one girl too many.”
Responding in the Commons chamber, the Prime Minister told Ms Bardell the Home Secretary would take up the case, and said: “The issue of female genital mutilation is one on which I think all of us, throughout the House, are agreed. It is an abhorrent activity; it should not be taking place.
“Great efforts have been made in recent years in strengthening the law on female genital mutilation, getting information out about the issue, and trying to support people in communities where FGM is practised.
“The message must go out from the House today that we will not accept FGM in this country.”
Following the exchange, Ms Bardell warned that “time is running out” to protect Ms Ilesamni’s daughter.