New Clause 98 - Offence of pet theft

Part of Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:49 pm on 5th July 2021.

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Photo of Anne McLaughlin Anne McLaughlin Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Immigration, Asylum and Border Control) 9:49 pm, 5th July 2021

I was disappointed that 44 of the 66 speakers did not get in on Second Reading, and particularly disappointed that nobody from the SNP other than myself was able to speak. I kept my remarks to around five minutes to allow them and others to get in, but unfortunately that did not happen. However, I will be much briefer this time, partly because there is only so much time you can spend banging your head off a brick wall and also because, over the past few months, myself and colleagues have spoken at length on this topic and will continue to do so.

Let me reiterate the main issues for the SNP. The Bill will not achieve what the Government say they want to achieve. It will seriously curtail the right to protest, and it will disgracefully criminalise the way of life of Gypsy Travellers. I remind hon. Members that on Wednesday at 1 o’clock Gypsy Travellers will be spending two hours across the road from this place. They have invited us all to join them to hear more about their way of life, and how the Bill will impact on those lives.

The Bill is likely to have a disproportionately negative impact on ethnic minority communities and women. It will allow the ridiculous and unjust possibility of a tougher jail sentence for someone who topples over a statue than for someone who does the same thing to a living human being or animal. I assure the people of Scotland that this Bill would never happen in an independent Scotland. If there is a single person on these islands who is still wondering why we campaign for independence, I encourage them to read this Bill.