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UPDATED | Shipley campaign group calls on MPs to support a Bill requiring the Govt to ratify the Istanbul Convention

Sue Easterbrook member of the Shipley Feminist Zealots

A Shipley campaign group have written to all 650 MPs across the country asking them to support the Istanbul Convention on Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.

If the Bill is passed the Government will have to provide funding for shelters, rape crisis centres, helplines and training and education in schools on healthy relationships.

However the group, Shipley Feminist Zealots are concerned that their local MP Philip Davies may filibuster the bill today (24/02) in Parliament.

Shipley MP Philip Davies is a well known opponent of legislation that refers specifically to women. He was recently elected onto the Women and Equalities Committee which he recently suggested shouldn’t exist.

Mr Davies MP, has already said that the Istanbul Convention on Violence against Women and Domestic Violence is “discriminatory on the grounds of gender”.

The letter was signed by over 180 local men and women.

Sue Easterbrook from the group explained, “Philip Davies seems to think that gender equality is about treating men and women the same, instead of recognising that addressing specific issues that affect one gender disproportionately requires specific action. Men and women are different.

“That is why we support groups for men like CALM, a charity dedicated to preventing male suicide and Women’s Aid, which supports women affected by domestic violence, the two charities that our group raises money for.

“Domestic violence affects women disproportionately. In 2009, a report found that male violence against women made up 85% of reported domestic violence incidents. We believe in equality for men and women – but that means recognising that legislation will sometimes need to focus on one gender or the other”.

Shipley Feminist Zealots formed last summer in response to a comment made by Shipley MP Philip Davies saying women who campaign for equality are “feminist zealots” who “want to have their cake and eat it”. Since then they have held several cake stalls in Shipley, raising money for CALM and Women’s Aid.

They also organised the Women’s March on Shipley back in January, when over 1,500 women, men and children marched to protest Trump’s inauguration, in response to Philip Davies’ previous support for Trump.

Philip Davies MP has agreed to meet the group on Saturday 25 February 2017 at Kirkgate Centre, 39a Kirkgate, Shipley from 3pm.

For further details of the event or for tickets to attend click here.


The bill was passed this afternoon (24/02) in the House Of Commons | Ayes 138 Noes 1.

Philip Davies MP voted against the Bill.

Full text of the letter to MPs sent by the Shipley Feminist Zealots:

Dear Members of Parliament,

We are writing to you ahead of the 3rd reading of the Bill on ratifying the Istanbul Convention on violence against women and domestic violence, which is due to take place on Friday. We urge you to show up and support this important Bill, to bring about the urgent reforms needed for the 1 in 4 women in the UK who experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

Why take the step of writing to you, and not our local MP? We are constituents of Philip Davies MP appalled by his attempts to obstruct this Bill at previous readings. In December he spoke for an hour and derailed the debate by putting forward his own agenda of men’s rights. His slogan is “Your interests, not self-interest” – but nothing could be further from the truth. When we try to engage with him, he brands us “extremists”, “socialists” and “feminist zealots”.

We have alerted Philip Davies to the fact that the Istanbul Convention recognises that men can be victims of domestic violence, and also to the disproportionate number of women who suffer domestic abuse, sexual violence and harassment, stalking and coercive behaviour. He persists in being dismissive of our concerns, and in his argument that the Bill is “discriminatory on the grounds of gender”. We understand he intends to oppose it at the next reading unless his proposed (and numerous) amendments to make it gender-blind are accepted. This is a wilful misunderstanding and sabotage of the Bill – and he cannot do this in our name.

While this Bill is delayed, people (mostly women) are being maimed and killed by abusive partners. To see this legislation filibustered is soul destroying for those who really need the protection of such a Bill. The Prime Minister herself recognises that domestic violence is “a life-shattering and absolutely abhorrent crime” and recently admitted that current legislation lacks clarity, resulting in “unacceptable” inconsistencies in local support for vulnerable women and girls. We hope therefore that this Bill will receive strong cross-party support and that common sense will prevail.

We hope that you will support the Bill, and do everything within your power to ensure that Philip Davies is not allowed to make a shambles of the parliamentary process.

Yours Sincerely,

Shipley ‘Feminist Zealots’

Kristina Diprose, Sue Easterbrook, Aisha Ali-khan, Jenny Wilson, Sophie Phillips, Helen Bowman, Christine Edmonds, Janice Thornton, Esther Dixon, Eleanor Armstrong, Jed Skinner, Mandy Jackson, Catherine Warwick, Ian Warwick, Chris Turner, Jessika Osborne, Richard Osborne, Emma Collingwood, Val Turner, Louise Ross, Rachel Griffiths, Cat Crossley, Douglas Lines, Lizzie Nolan, Jan Vekaria, Thomas Dixon, Laura Firth, Natalie Sparrow, Kerrie-Anne Robb, Ruth Dunstan, Helen Walford, Melody Tavenir, Sarah Morrison, Nick Allen, Annie Jackson, Ellie Clement, Shona England-Lees, Chris Grogan, Elaine Phillips, Julie Wilkinson, Anna Watson, Kate Burnett, Annabel Holt, Lucy Hall, Christine Price, Chris Grayston, Rob Janaway, Katie Jones, Kate Ahern, Kath Jackson, Anna Sian Forman, Adam Cole, Nicole Miles, Helen Rowlands, Pete Conkerton, Anne Mackay, Natasha Jackson, Darren Butler, Kathryn Jackson, Jenny Ramsden, Nadine Bloomfield, Neil Terry, Sandra Chewins, David Slaney, Sharon Hattersley, Parvin Vekaria, Bridget Turner, Ruth Frost, Jenny Harold, Suzanne Barrett, Sue Maughan, Rachel Hesselwood, Darren Marks, Katy Witham, Wendy Spink, Claire Anderson, Lee Goater, Sophie Wainman, Bernadette Bowden, Alex James, Richard Ramsden, Claire Wellesley-Smith, Maria Crimmins, Will Lilburn-Quick, Andy Mayes, Liz Porter, Kate Sutcliffe, Ruth Bartlett, Heather Todd, Susan Martin, Vick Jenkins, Claire Nicholson, Steve Pope-Carter, Julie Pope-Carter, Catherine Pass, Gail Smith, Eve Poperwell, Aoife Aston, Lizzie Hutchinson, Holly Lyne, Andy Stanford, Anna Shakoor-Green, Paul Wrigley, Natalie Whiteley, Liz Kingsley, Andrew Calvert, Jude Wright, Mark Nesbitt, Kirstin Sawyer, Marcie Sawyer,
Simone Sawyer, Joanne Jagger, Matthew Milnes, Julie Bacon, Sally Trusselle, Ian Hodgson, Kate Welsh, Kerry Hozhabrafkhan, Zac Williamson, Melissa Connor, Lorna Armitage, Tracy Glover, Joe Wheatley, Helen Owen, Marshall Owen, Jessica Owen, Becca Owen, Sara Ahern, Becca Blake, Ben Wray, Morgan Sproxton, Sophie Marfell, Sara Teresa Mollis, Rachel Kaye, Lara Thornton-Berry, Erica Lewis, Amanda Gill, Caroline Bunce, Joyce Robertshaw, Bev Winterbottom, Bob Winterbottom, Sally Allard, Anthony Johnson, Joseph Kean, Susan Kean, Georgina Dickinson, Angela Searle, Vanessa Hawkin, Lynn George, Ruth Simpson, Louise Nutton, Charlotte Furness, Jenny Harris, Lorna Faye Dunsire, Lucy Deakin, Fay Walker, Marissa Aitken, Sally Edwards, Claire Gibbons, Kealy Brabiner, Nicola Ayres,
Deana Morgan, Esther Derbyshire, Ludi Simpson, Lindsey Butler, Philip Raistrick, Jenny Carlyle, Paula Perrins, Iain Perrins, Kathy Bramley, Lisa Jones, Charlotte Hazel, Mandy Watkins, Richard Smyth, Pete Harris, Becky Carlyle, Andrea Layzell, Kate Robinson, Katie Culshaw-Cunnane, Claire Connor, Joanne Richardson, Jo Pike, David Wilkinson, Kayleigh Wilkinson