Pregnant prisoners shouldn’t be treated this way

The government is failing to increase the number of Mother and Baby Units, despite a planned increase of 500 places in women’s prisons. In answer to my written question I discovered that they keep no records of how many women and trans men are pregnant in Britain’s jails, nor do they have any idea of how many pregnant prisoners in individual facilities.

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My amendment 109 addressing governance gaps in environmental law

Several requirements for the Secretary of State to report information to the European Commission in relation to environmental law have been lost because of the UK’s departure from the EU and the subsequent adoption of new statutory instruments. This poses a serious threat to the effective application of environmental law in the UK and the Government’s ability to achieve their stated aim and manifesto promise of leaving the environment in a better state than that in which it was found. The reporting of information relating to environmental law is absolutely vital to ensure transparency and accountability in environmental policy-making and ensure that government and stakeholders can identify and address environmental impacts. Continuity over time in the information being recorded and reported can also help to reveal trends and increase transparency.

My Amendment 109 would introduce a new clause into the Bill that is intended to address some extensive governance gaps in environmental law that have arisen because of the UK’s departure from the EU. Continue reading “My amendment 109 addressing governance gaps in environmental law”

‘Due Regard’ is a get out clause

My Amendment 75 to the Environment Bill would flesh out the environmental principles so that they reflect a much broader set of principles, written in simple, understandable language. For example, the precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle would actually be explained and defined. It would also add things such as using the “best available scientific knowledge”, the principles of public participation and the principle of “sustainability” to take into account the health of present generations and the needs of future generations.

Taken together, these amendments would create an accessible blueprint for our country and for the planet. They would set out the clear environmental principles on which our future would be founded, and require—not simply invite—the Government to implement those principles in all areas of policy. This is the type of legislation that a Green Government would implement, these are the principles that we would apply and these are the ways in which we would make ourselves accountable to Parliament, to the courts, and to future generations. Continue reading “‘Due Regard’ is a get out clause”

Law Enforcement Agencies: Duty of Candour

The Report of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel (HC 11), published on 15 June, recommended that there should be “a statutory duty of candour, to be owed by all law enforcement agencies to those whom they serve, subject to protection of national security and relevant data protection legislation”. The independent panel highlighted obstruction and a lack of co-operation by the Metropolitan Police that “placed its concern for its own reputation above the public interest.” Who do the Government believe should be held accountable for that misconduct? Continue reading “Law Enforcement Agencies: Duty of Candour”

Police must be open as well as honest

Today I ask whether the government will ensure that the police have a ‘duty of candour’.

One of the main recommendations that came out of the recent report on the murder of Daniel Morgan is that the police should have a “duty of candour”. It seems such a simple and inoffensive change to how the police conduct themselves, but it would generate a flow of fresh air and transparency through the suffocating fog of the UK’s policing culture. The Daniel Morgan case is the most documented example of institutional corruption within the police, but is only one of many going back over several decades.

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Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions?

I am concerned that we as a nation are pontificating about global corruption when it is clear we have inherent local corruption. Corruption is corruption, whether it is here in the UK, via Ministers, or anywhere else. So this does seem a strange piece of legislation to be coming through this House while details are still being released about the Government’s VIP-lane contracts to friends of Ministers and the dubious funding of the Prime Minister’s living arrangements. The Explanatory Memorandum recognises that “serious corruption” “has a range of corrosive effects on states, markets and societies wherever it occurs” – and it is occurring in Britain, and it will have a corrosive effect.

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Forensic Science and the Criminal Justice System (Science & Technology Committee Report)

I believe that it is impossible to separate forensic science from the wider undermining of criminal justice funding that has occurred during 11 years of Conservative cuts. The Government have treated people’s innocence as an unaffordable and optional luxury, rather than the underpinning of the fabric of society’s trust in the justice system. When people realise that innocent people can go to jail and guilty people can go free because of failures in the system that the Government have allowed to happen, the whole system is doomed. Continue reading “Forensic Science and the Criminal Justice System (Science & Technology Committee Report)”

Public service and private enrichment: the need for legal separation

Existing regimes often fail to ensure that people in government and politics work for the public interest and not for private gain. We need a legal, formal separation of public service from private enrichment. We need to hold former Ministers, former politicians and even former lawyers to much higher standards than exist at present. Continue reading “Public service and private enrichment: the need for legal separation”

Undercover Policing Inquiry – no access to Special Branch registry files

Baroness Clark of Kilwinning tabled an Oral Question to ask HMG what assessment they have made of the progress of the Undercover Policing Inquiry into police surveillance, established in 2015.

I said: My Lords, the chair of the inquiry has ruled that the Special Branch registry files, which could give more information about the work of undercover officers, will not be part of the inquiry. That means that the truth will be very filtered, which makes it hard for core participants, who feel that they will not get justice. Would the Minister agree to a meeting with me and perhaps a member of each of the opposition parties to discuss the major flaws in the inquiry and why the core participants are so upset?

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