Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:45 am on 1st October 2020.

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Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 11:45 am, 1st October 2020

My hon. Friend, as he so often does, puts his finger on the right issue. Shop workers have been fantastic, phenomenal and brave, because they all stayed at work at a point when we knew much less about the disease than we do now and thought that it might have been much more risky even than it has turned out to be; they were a real frontline emergency service. Without them, the crisis would have been infinitely worse, so I am grateful to my hon. Friend for the tribute he has paid to them. I can reassure him that there are already offences that cover assaults against any worker, including those in the retail sector, such as common assault, actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm. In July, the Government published the findings of a call for evidence on violence and abuse towards shop workers, and we will continue to work with the British Retail Consortium and other partners to stop these crimes. I pay tribute to the British Retail Consortium for the work that it has been doing to highlight this important issue, and encourage my hon. Friend and the BRC to continue raising it.