Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today congratulated MP Lynne Featherstone for her campaigning on female genital mutilation.

Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone has previously said that ending the “awful practice” is one of her “top priorities”, adding that that eliminating the procedure worldwide is crucial to ending the practice in the UK.

Mr Clegg, moving from a series of tweets about the importance of UK foreign aid to focus on female genital mutilation, said: “Female genital mutilation is one of the most extreme manifestations of gender-based violence there is. But working together, across nations, we can end it.”

He added: “I want to pay tribute to Lynne Featherstone for her tireless work to increase the public’s understanding of this unnecessary, harmful practice”.

The practice, sometimes known as female circumcision, has been illegal in the UK since 1985, but there has yet to be a successful prosecution in British courts.

A former Whittington Hospital doctor might become one of the first two men to be prosecuted after being charged with the offence while working at the hospital in November 2012.

Dr Dhanoun Dharmasena is due to attend a hearing at Southwark Crown Court on June 27.

He appears alongside Mr Hasan Mohamed, who faces a charge of intentionally encouraging an offence of female genital mutilation.

Female genital mutilation is believed to affect up to 140 million women worldwide and an estimated 66,000 women in the UK.