A woman facing deportation to Nigeria has won a reprieve after Theresa May was told her three-year-old daughter faced female genital mutilation if they were returned.
A decision to refuse Lola Ilesanmi’s application to remain in the UK has been withdrawn and Ms May has ordered immigration minister Brandon Lewis to personally oversee a review of her case.
Ms Ilesanmi’s MP Hannah Bardell, of the Scottish National Party, appealed for Ms May to intervene at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons earlier this month, telling her that the former RBS employee had been beaten, forced to have an abortion and had her face “smashed with an iPad” by her estranged husband because of her refusal to subject their daughter to FGM.
Ms May responded that she regarded FGM as “abhorrent” and that the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, had heard her account of the case.
The Prime Minister has now written to the Livingston MP to assure her that a “comprehensive and rigorous assessment” would be made of the situation of Ms Ilesanmi and her children and any risks they may face if they returned to Nigeria.
Ms Bardell said she was “very glad” over the PM’s intervention, but added: “Lola needs leave to remain to restart her life in Livingston… Leave to remain is not yet guaranteed and is vital for the safety of Lola and her young family.”
In her letter, Ms May said: “FGM is a crime, it is child abuse and will not be accepted in this country. This Government will not tolerate a practice that can cause extreme and lifelong physical and psychological suffering to women and girls.
“I made my commitment to end this practice clear during my time as Home Secretary… This Government takes the issue of FGM very seriously and remains committed to ending FGM within a generation.”