Emma Watson, the UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, co-signed a letter calling on the UK government to ratify the Istanbul Convention. The only other photograph This Site could have used would have been of Philip Davies; that’s why you’re getting this one [Image: Rex Features].

Survivors of rape and domestic violence have sent Valentine’s Day cards to hundreds of MPs urging them to vote on a “life saving” women’s rights bill.

Campaigners are appealing to MPs to turn up to vote for the third and final time on a bill that will require the Government to fulfill its promise to ratify a treaty known as the Istanbul Convention in order to see it progress to the House of Lords.

If the bill is passed the UK Government will be obliged to guarantee funding for shelters, rape crisis centres, helplines and training and education in schools on healthy relationships.

The UK was involved in the development of the pan-European treaty, described by the UN has the “gold standard” for tackling violence against women. But despite signing the Istanbul Convention in June 2012, the Government has yet to ratify it, which would make it legally binding.

In December last year 135 MPs voted in favour of ratifying the bill. They were opposed by just two MPs, the Conservative MP for Shipley, Philip Davies, and the Conservative MP for Bury North, David Nuttall. Mr Davies, whose appointment to Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee last year was branded a “sick joke”, was widely criticised for attempting to filibuster the bill, tabled by Dr Eilidh Whiteford, the SNP MP for Banff and Buchan. Mr Davies spoke for 78 minutes in an unsuccessful bid to derail the bill.

One hundred MPs must turn up and vote in favour of the bill on 24 February in order for it to pass to the next round. While MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of the bill in December, there is still a chance it could be voted down or blocked by filibuster next Friday, warned IC Change, the grassroots organisation that has spearheaded the campaign to see the treaty ratified.

Source: ‘Lifesaving’ women’s rights bill Philip Davies tried to block hangs in the balance, campaigners warn – The i newspaper online iNews

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