London MEP Marina Yannakoudakis today led calls for action to end the barbarism of young girls being subjected to horrific mutilation in the name of cultural tradition.

The Conservative spokesman on women’s rights has tabled a motion to the European Parliament calling on EU countries to bring the full force of their laws to bear to stop the ritual genital mutilation of girls and women. The practice is rife in some societies in Sub-Saharan Africa but there is evidence of its increasing occurrence in Western Europe, including the UK.

Speaking in a debate in Strasbourg today, Mrs Yannakoudakis said: “I am ashamed to say that the number of cases of female genital mutilation reported in my constituency of London is rising and that some procedures are in fact taking place in London itself.

“Female genital mutilation is illegal in the UK and the law extends to protect citizens even if they are taken abroad for the procedure.

“All Member States must take firm action to combat this illegal practice and we need to ensure that Europe is doing all it can to safeguard girls and women, thus setting an example to the developing world.

“Female genital mutilation is barbaric; it’s a fundamental violation of the rights of women and girls. However it is currently a taboo issue and I hope that by talking about it openly we will, in time, eradicate mutilation on women.”