Virginity testing ban proposed by Richard Holden MP

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The invasive procedure was described by Richard Holden MP as "medieval" and a "fraud"

Proposals to outlaw virginity testing have passed their first parliamentary stage.

North West Durham Conservative MP Richard Holden told parliament the practice was "medieval".

His Virginity Testing (Prohibition) Bill has been passed by MPs for further consideration by the Commons in January.

Mr Holden said that when he told people it was still happening, "their reaction has been universally the same - how?"

The intrusive tests, which involve a vaginal examination to check if the hymen is intact, are considered a violation of human rights by the World Health Organization and United Nations.

'Women aren't objects'

Mr Holden, who praised a BBC investigation for highlighting the issue, told MPs there were 21 clinics offering the procedure in the UK, charging between £150 and £300.

The MP said there was "no scientific evidence at all" that it worked and it "should be banned on the basis of fraud alone".

"How is this medieval practice still taking place in modern Britain?" he asked.

"What does it say about our attitudes towards what is acceptable towards women?"

"Women aren't objects to be examined, tested and selected by men."

The bill will return to the Commons on 8 January but, without government support, may fail to become law due to a lack of parliamentary time.

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