30 June 2017
Holly Lynch is hoping to introduce a Private Members Bill in Parliament calling for added protections for police and other blue light workers.
The Halifax Labour MP has been working closely with the PFEW on the Protect the Protectors campaign and in February this year she put forward a 10 Minute Rule Bill calling for tougher sentences for those who assault the emergency service workers and more consistency in recording assaults. She raised issues around “spitting” and the risk of transmitting infectious diseases.
The bill ran out of time, but with a new parliament under way Ms Lynch has now made the shortlist of 20 MPs invited to introduce a bill. There is a chance that not all will be read but this is another positive step forward for the campaign.
Ms Lynch tweeted on Thursday (June 29): “Although a long way down the list, really pleased to have 2nd chance to present the #ProtectTheProtectors bill thanks to PMB Ballot.”
She added: “With 650 MPs I’ve done well to be drawn at all, but I’m mindful of the need to manage expectations as 20th in the queue is a long shot. It has never been more important to make sure emergency services have all the protections to do their job in the current climate, but there is an awful lot of support in getting the law changed which is ultimately what the campaign has been about.”
The ballot for Private Members’ Bills for the 2017-19 session took place at 9am on 29 June. Labour MP Chris Bryant was drawn in first place. Ms Lynch intends to approach MPs further up the list to ask if they will consider taking up her bill.
Mick Hume, Secretary of the PFEW Parliamentary Working Group, said: “We are grateful to Holly for her continued support for the campaign and for raising awareness of the issues around assaults. It is unacceptable that a police officer or any other emergency service worker should have to put up with being assaulted in the course of their duties. A bill in parliament is an important step towards our goal of greater protections for officers, more consistent recording of assaults and tougher sentences to deter offenders. Whatever happens in the weeks ahead PFEW will continue to engage parliament and enlist support for the campaign.”
The dates of Fridays when Private Member Bills will be heard have not yet been announced.