I voted against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill at the first parliamentary opportunity. This bill was an opportunity for meaningful sentencing reform. There is an all-time record high backlog of more than 56,000 cases awaiting a hearing. Victims of crime are being asked to wait up to 4 years to get to court.
There is also a clear need to strengthen protections and legislate to tackle violence against women. The heart-breaking events of the past weeks serve as a reminder of this unfinished business. This bill was an opportunity for the Government to address these issues. It is a reflection of this Government’s priorities that it chose to, instead, focus on targeting traveller communities, statues, and protest. The likely impact of these proposals for the traveller communities and on protest and free expression concerns me.
I also challenged the Prime Minister to level with the public over the long-awaited integrated review into security, defence, development, and foreign policy. See my round-up for further details and see here for the Public Accounts Committee's report into the Defence Equipment Plan at the Ministry of Defence.
This week I was also delighted to receive my first dose of the COVID vaccine. It was quick, painless, and easy. It is vital we all take the vaccine as soon as it is our turn to do so. It's the best way of protecting ourselves and our loved ones. If you're concerned or have any questions, Hackney Council has produced an excellent series of resources on the COVID vaccine. See here for further details.