[1st Allocated Day]

Part of Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:38 pm on 15th March 2021.

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Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith Conservative, Chingford and Woodford Green 7:38 pm, 15th March 2021

In the short time available, I will limit myself slightly. The Opposition’s position is somewhat illogical at the moment. Is the Bill perfect? No, it is by no means perfect. I hope that it will be corrected as it goes through. Will that happen? Certainly. I accept that there are issues around freedom of speech and the right to assemble, and I think that these will be dealt with during the course of the debate. Overall, this is a good Bill, but Labour Members are going to vote against the protection of the police, the prevention, investigation and prosecution of crime, and important measures on sentencing and release, on public order, on encampments—which bother a lot of my constituents—on youth justice, on secure children’s homes and academies, and on the management and rehabilitation of offenders. They will vote against all of that, yet they agree with much of it. That does not make any sense to me.

Tonight I want to draw the attention of my right hon. and hon. Friends to something very important that is not in the Bill, and I want to make some progress on this. It is to do with the rising theft of pets, including dogs, much of which now includes violence. This is a really big issue; it is not prosaic by any means.