The Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Bill is a House of Commons private member’s bill introduced by Eilidh Whiteford (SNP MP for Banff and Buchan) and is sponsored in the House of Lords by Baroness Gale (Labour). The Bill has completed all stages in the House of Commons and is scheduled to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 10 March 2017.
The Bill seeks to encourage the Government to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (referred to as the Istanbul Convention)[ii], which the UK signed on 8 June 2012 but has yet to ratify. The Bill makes a number of provisions in this regard. It would require the Secretary of State to lay a report before each House setting out the steps required to enable the UK to ratify the Convention, and the timescale within which this is expected to happen. The report would have to be laid as soon as reasonably practicable after the Act came into force. Clause two would require the Secretary of State to lay a report before both Houses each year until ratification, setting out any changes to the timescale contained in previous reports; administrative measures taken by the government to enable the UK to ratify the Convention; legislative proposals brought forward to enable to UK to ratify; and measures to be taken and legislation required to enable the UK to ratify the Convention.
The Bill would require the first annual report to be laid no later than 1 November 2017.