[1st Allocated Day]

Part of Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:25 pm on 15th March 2021.

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Photo of Elliot Colburn Elliot Colburn Conservative, Carshalton and Wallington 9:25 pm, 15th March 2021

I join the Home Secretary and colleagues in sending my condolences to the friends and family of Sarah Everard. This Bill delivers on our manifesto commitment—the one that I stood on in Carshalton and Wallington, and so did many others—to toughen up sentences for the most dangerous criminals and reform the criminal justice system.

Of the many welcome measures contained in the Bill, I particularly welcome measures such as extending whole-life orders for the premeditated murder of a child and ending the early automatic release of dangerous criminals, which will keep the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes off our streets. I know, from the countless times that I have been told that the criminal justice system is too lenient, that my constituents will also welcome the tougher sentences for the most dangerous criminals, the introduction of life sentences for killer drivers, the doubling of the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker and the introduction of Kay’s law to better protect victims and witnesses in cases of violent and sexual offences. It is because of the campaigning efforts of those victims and their families that I will support the Bill.

Like me, many colleagues will have met and heard stories of grieving families from their own constituencies, angry at what they have seen as a lenient sentence. I remember reading one story just last year of a young man who tragically lost his life in Carshalton after being hit by a driver who was later arrested on suspicion of being drunk behind the wheel. This Bill will ensure that in cases such as this, the punishment fits the crime. Additionally, I know that residents across the London borough of Sutton will particularly welcome criminalising trespass and strengthening powers to tackle unauthorised encampments. Only recently, Carshalton and Wallington residents were incredibly frustrated when an encampment jumped from local park to local park, causing harm, disruption and distress as it went, yet progress on removing this encampment was incredibly slow because of the limitations around the existing law. These measures will make it much easier to deal with that.

This Bill does deliver on our manifesto commitment, so I am dismayed that Opposition Members are finding ways to try to oppose these important measures. The wording in the Bill is complemented by case law, and clearly defined principles are being put on to the statute book at the request of the independent Law Commission. The Bill is there to stop scenes like those we saw last year of protestors blocking ambulances, and not to ban peaceful protests, so it is no good Labour or Lib Dem Members saying that they agree with parts of the Bill if they are not going to support it. We should be unapologetic in standing up for victims of crime and their families, combined with the efforts that the Government are already making to put more police on our streets and work on prevention. For that reason, I will support the Bill tomorrow.