A fortnight ago marked one year on from the Government’s end to end rape review. But rape prosecutions are still at record lows and court backlogs are at record highs. It’s no wonder then the Justice Secretary failed to come to the House to make a statement on their progress so I called on him to do so, see here.
This week an Urgent Question was called on this and I was able to outline the shocking situation facing rape survivors’ and once again call on the Government to back our plan which would drive up prosecutions & restore victims’ confidence in our justice system, see here. But as ever, still the Government continues to sit on their hands. The sad truth is that under their watch they have effectively decriminalised rape.
Shockingly the Justice Minister wrote to the Speaker this week calling on me to retract my comments about the Government’s appalling record. I make no apology for calling out the Government on their failures, especially when they can’t face the fact that they’re letting sex offenders off and letting survivors down. See the write up on this in the Guardian here.
The Justice Secretary also laid before Parliament their Bill of Rights which will replace the Human Rights Act (HRA). The HRA has allowed millions of people to get access to justice, protected victims of crime, and ensured our loved ones get the care they need.
The Tories sham Bill will take those rights away, preventing people with health problems from objecting to Do Not Resuscitate Orders being placed on them in hospital without their consent. It will block women from forcing the police to investigate cases of rape, and it will stop victims of terrorist atrocities and major disasters like Hillsborough from seeking justice.
You can see me responding to the Justice Secretary on this Bill in Parliament here and you can find my write up on the devastating impact this will have on women seeking justice when the state has failed them here.
Finally this week I led our Opposition Day debate on community payback. Community payback is an opportunity for offenders to make reparations to the communities and victims they have harmed but under the Tories hours have been wiped or completed at home. I outlined Labour’s plan to restore confidence in these sentences and ensure offenders are held accountable, see here
This week I met with the CEO of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to outline the challenges we have been facing and to lobby him to take action.
The main issue has been timetable changes between Sydenham / Forest Hill and London Bridge. There have also been issues around overcrowding on the services because of shorter trains as well.
I am pleased to announce that following our meeting GTR have now agreed to increase the number of carriages per train on the service from 5 as it currently stands to 8-10 from September onwards.
I also outlined how disappointed our community is with the timetable changes and whilst I was unable to get concessions on this, we have managed to get the trains back up to 8-10 carriages, which should help reduce the overcrowding.
Whilst this is a win, I will continue to lobby GTR to get our services restored to what they were pre-covid.