Today we finally received a response from the Home Office in connection with our FOI requests on MGM, sent to Theresa May MP, Home Secretary. MGM is unquestionably illegal, as we know from a talk given by a prominent barrister in 2013. Nobody in the government, or the Crown Prosecution Service, for that matter, has denied that fact when we’ve presented it to them in FOI requests and otherwise.
The Home Office letter was dated 16 October, and for reasons that needn’t detain us, it took a couple of weeks to arrive at our global headquarters. Our FOI requests were:
Given that MGM demonstrably results in bodily harm, and often mental harm, on what grounds are the police declining to press charges against those carrying out the procedures?
Regardless of those grounds, will the government commit publicly to introducing legislation in this parliamentary term (i.e. before May 2020) to make non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors illegal?
With the benefit of hindsight, we should have made the deadline for introducing legislation much earlier.
I’ll focus on the response to the first FOI request in this blog post, bear in mind whilst reading it, that the Home Office has responsibility for the police service:
Your letter was transferred to the Ministry of Justice for a response to your questions and the letter as a whole, as the Ministry of Justice holds policy responsibility for legislation on offences against the person. Our records indicate you were sent a letter from our Departmental Correspondence Unit advising you of this. [I haven’t received this purported letter.]
This is a cynical response, to say the least. I asked why the police aren’t pressing charges against those carrying out MGM. My question had absolutely nothing to do with ‘policy responsibility for legislation on offences against the person’, so it was utterly pointless to pass the matter on to the Ministry of Justice. The bottom line? Theresa May is refusing to engage with a perfectly legitimate FOI request.
It hardly needs to be said, I’m sure, but I haven’t heard from the Ministry of Justice.