Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 Section 4

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:01 pm on 30th September 2019.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 9:01 pm, 30th September 2019

I, too, thank the Members here for making the effort to be present. Carolyn Harris is always here when a debate on gambling is taking place, and Fiona Bruce never misses an occasion to comment on these issues. The fact that there may not be as many here tonight does not mean that it is of any less interest to the people in this House. It is important to put that on the record. Those of us who are here are here for a purpose, and we are here to have our voice heard.

I am very grateful for the report on gambling, which has been produced under section 3(11) of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act. The report proves to be a sobering read about the state of the law on gambling, and the support provided for those suffering from gambling addiction.

I have had the pleasure of being with Peter and Sadie Keogh, who are working with a newly formed charity, Gambling with Lives. They were in Westminster earlier this year. I have known them for some time, and I have met them in my office. They are not my constituents; both Pete and Sadie are from Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. Their son Lewis tragically took his own life after a battle with gambling addiction. Therefore, their story is of critical importance. Their experience really brought home to me the dreadful reality of gambling addiction: the damage it can do to individuals and families. They have become diligent campaigners on this issue, seeking to help to ensure that others do not go through the experience they, sadly, went through.