Emma Watson has written a letter to MPs urging them to turn up and vote on Friday on a life-saving private member’s bill for the protection of women and girls against gender-based violence.
The Beauty and the Beast star put her full support behind the bill to timetable the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, a gold standard in human rights legislation that will improve the care of rape and domestic violence survivors, allow perpetrators to be prosecuted abroad and make sure the government doesn’t cut funding to women’s services.
The third and final reading of the bill in the House of Commons will happen this Friday 24 February. One hundred MPs are needed to vote it through to the House of Lords and help it to become the law.
Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, who is putting the bill forward, said:
“I am delighted to have the continued support of Emma Watson. She is a talented woman, who has used her ability to reach millions of people to highlight the need to combat gender-based violence.
“She is one of the inspiring people who have helped to build a grassroots campaign for change. The women’s movement has always been ahead of the curve, leaving Parliament to catch up.
“That’s what we have the opportunity to do this Friday. My Bill has the potential to make thousands of women’s lives better, it has already provided the urgency for the UK Government to announce new domestic violence legislation.
“We’ve already waited nearly five years for ratification, I hope that now we are on the right trajectory to make it a reality.”
Rebecca Bunce, co-director of the Istanbul Convention campaign group IC Change, warned that now is not the time for complacency, as the bill can still be talked out of time and voted down.
“135 MPs showed up to vote on this life-saving women’s rights bill in December, but we need just as many to do it again or it won’t happen.
“In the current social and political environment, where women’s rights everywhere are being challenged and undermined, we need to ensure that the UK shows strong leadership in ending violence against women, and ratifying the Istanbul Convention is the way to do it.”
Want to know how you can help Emma and co make the UK safer for women? Visit the IC Change website here.