On Monday the Tories' Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill returned to the Commons following its rejection by the House of Lords.
Here's why I voted against it at every opportunity in the House of Commons.
I could not vote for a Crime Bill that does nothing to reverse the Conservatives’ failure to address the epidemic of violence against women and girls – and which imposes draconian restrictions on all of our freedoms including the right to protest.
While the Government accepted our proposals to urgently review spiking, they shamefully still opposed amendments on criminalising sex for rent and making misogyny a hate crime.
The rape charge rate has dropped to just 1.3% yet there were no measures in the Bill to increase the pitiful rape prosecution.
The Bill fails to address the crisis in our police and justice system that has been created by a decade of cuts and failed Tory ideology. The government likes to legislate and make new sentences, but the truth is sentencing is doesn’t achieve justice while the courts are frozen.
The Crown Court backlog is now at an all-time record high of nearly 60,000 cases. Victims of crime are being asked to wait up to 4 years to get to court and many victims and witnesses are dropping out of the justice entirely because of delays. Violent criminals are being spared prison because of delays – case studies here. 295 courts in England and Wales were closed by the Conservatives between 2010-19. There are 27,000 fewer sitting days than in 2016.
This Bill should have been an opportunity to take meaningful action to tackle violence against women and girls. Unfortunately, this opportunity has been wasted.