Already this week I have taken part in a Westminster Hall Debate on House of Lords reform and called on the Government to scrap hereditary peers once and for all.
During the debate the Minister indicated that the Government will give up its time in the House of Lords to debate the recent report in Lords reform, but it became glaringly obvious that they were not intending on doing so for the democratically elected Commons. I used Business Questions today to call on the Government to give up its own time to debate this important matter. The Leader of the House said that debating the right of a small minority of people to create our laws and question our government due only to accident of birth was not a matter of high importance. This is ridiculous and the Government must accept my Bill and get rid of the hereditary peers now.
Yesterday’s announcement by the Secretary of State for Justice, Liz Truss MP, into the reform of our prison system is too little too late. Reform has been needed for years, but this Government and the previous Coalition Government dodged the much needed reforms. Instead of choosing the right path of reform they decided to revert to type and cut prison officer numbers and investment into the prison estate.
Since the Tories have been in power they have presided over a cut of 7,000 prison officers. When Labour left office we had 49,230 prison officers maintaining safety in prisons and ensuring that it produced an environment where rehabilitation could progress. As of March 2016 there are only 43,540 prison officers. The Tory cuts have undermined prison safety and seen attacks on prison officer’s increase by 41%. Delve deeper into those figures and you will see a 31% increase in serious assaults on officers. That isn’t even over 5 years, that is just within one single year; a shocking figure. Read more “My Response to the Prison Reform Announcement made by the Justice Secretary”
Just before Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday was Cabinet Office Questions. The Cabinet Office is responsible for the day to day running of the Civil Service and also for constitutional reform.
I asked the Cabinet Office Minister, Ben Gummer MP, if he thought it was right that the Government is reducing the size of the House of Commons by 50 MPs, but there are still nearly 100 Lords who owe their place in parliament for no other reason than patronage in the Middle Ages. Read more “Cabinet Office Questions: House of Lords Reform”
During Justice Questions, yesterday, I asked the new Prisons Minister what the Government is doing to ensure that Prison Governors are judged on their ability to rehabilitate prisoners on short-term sentences and placing them into employment.
I believe it is vitally important that we can rehabilitate our short-term prison population. These are usually people who are serving sentences under 9 months in length. Ensuring that they have the skills needed to gain employment makes sure that their chances or re-offending are dramatically reduced as they have a stable and legitimate income. Moreover, it helps ex-offenders reintegrate with society. Having a job means that you become part of a community. Therefore you have a vested interest that that community thrives, something that crime or criminal activity runs counter to. Read more “Justice Questions: Prison Rehabilitation”