[1st Allocated Day]

Part of Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:21 pm on 15th March 2021.

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Photo of Nick Thomas-Symonds Nick Thomas-Symonds Shadow Home Secretary 6:21 pm, 15th March 2021

I think the hon. Member needs to reread the Bill on the scope of the provisions, frankly, because it is extraordinarily loosely drafted.

Rights of access to the countryside were hard won through the protests of previous generations. I do realise that there is some ill feeling between this Prime Minister and his predecessor, the right hon. Member for Maidenhead, but I did not realise that it ran so deep that he would be happy to see people locked up for naughtily running through a field of wheat. [Interruption.] If only she had all those years ago as well.

The Bill before the House could be a landmark Bill, and we must seize this opportunity for change. Yes, absolutely, there are measures in this Bill that we welcome—mostly because Labour Members have actually campaigned for them—but addressing violence against women and girls cannot be at the bottom of this Government’s list of priorities. If Ministers disagree with my interpretation, they must show it by their actions, and drop the elements of the Bill that suggest that attacking a statue could be a worse crime than rape, drop the elements of the Bill on protests, and revisit the elements that drive up disproportionality and the controls on encampments, which are discriminatory and unworkable. Instead, let this Bill be an opportunity for people to come together and seize the moment to drive through vital changes to address violence against women and girls. Whatever this Government say as the Bill progresses, we on these Benches understand and we hear the call for change. Labour will work to bring about that change, and I would ask all Members to work with us in that endeavour.