Being in Coalition with people who have different priorities brings its challenges, especially on issues where there are major political differences. So while Lib Dems have listened to the science on climate change, we expect the Tories to want to try and cut all the "green crap". However, on some areas you just don't predict division, and are appalled when the basic assumptions you hold about humanity seem to be questioned by MPs of different stripes.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), surely, is one area where it is clear that politicians at whatever level must send out a strong message that this appalling practise cannot continue. So I was understandably outraged to learn that in a vote before Christmas, four Conservatives MEPs - Marta Andreasen, Nirj Deva, Sajjad Karim and Timothy Kirkhope - voted against a European Parliament resolution condemning FGM. Several Conservative and UKIP MEPs also failed to back the resolution by abstaining. This, in my view, shows politics at its worst, letting political point-scoring on the EU ruin a chance to be a strong voice for vulnerable girls fearing barbaric mutilation.

Read the complete original version of this item...