[1st Allocated Day]

Part of Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:49 pm on 15th March 2021.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Chair, Committee on Standards, Chair, Committee on Standards, Chair, Committee of Privileges, Chair, Committee of Privileges 5:49 pm, 15th March 2021

I urge the Home Secretary not to play party politics with this particular bit. I introduced, as a private Member’s Bill, the legislation that she is acting on, and at the time I argued very strongly in favour of two years being the maximum sentence. I was dissuaded by Dominic Raab, who is now the Foreign Secretary; by Mrs May, the former Home Secretary; and by a lot of Conservative MPs, who did not want to support the legislation at all.

I need to be persuaded that the Government have used the legislation that is on the statute book at present. For instance, the Home Secretary refers, quite rightly, to people spitting at police officers. It is disgusting and it is a form of assault, but unfortunately the sentencing guidelines still have not been updated since the introduction of my legislation to make sure that spitting is an aggravating factor and will be treated as an offence.