Although the provision of a good quality piece of legislation is the most important element from Parliament, when backbench MPs from more than one party work together we should applaud them. That is particularly true if their cooperation and proposed change is something that will benefit our nation. It is clearly vital that the Government is persuaded to ensure that this legislation act is endorsed very quickly as the people impacted are already very vulnerable. My own view is that whilst someone who is 18 is technically an adult, that the criminal impact on young adults is very significant and there should be a much more flexible approach than simply the age of a person. I spent over a decade as Chair of a YMCA that was based in Hove which is called YMCA Downslink Group and it is clear that many people well past their 18th Birthdays are still very vulnerable although clearly there are also some people under 18 whose actions are very concerning and indeed the recent death of Sue Addis which was potentially the consequence of a 17 year old is one challenge and in a number of settings there is very violent attacks by people even younger. However the important aspect is to treat them as being vulnerable even if their action is deeply concerning.
So according to this article in the Children and Young People Now magazine the MP for Aylesbury called Rob Butler who formerly served on the Youth Justice Board introduced a private Bill via the 10 Minute Rule Bill on Tuesday and the following day, the 24th he and a small group of people from different political parties and different parts of the UK supported his Bill. The bill has been launched in parliament to ensure young people who commit crimes before they turn 18 are always dealt with in the youth court and receive a youth sentence because partly as a result of COVID the delays in the Court services are now very extensive. That said we need the Government to deal with the resources for the Court services as indeed was needed a decade ago. However the impact is that some of the people who commit an offence aged 15, 16 or 17 if they don’t get to court until after their 18th birthday, they are treated as an adult. Delays in cases coming to court have been exacerbated recently due to the coronavirus pandemic and the use by police of Release Under Investigation.
The MPs who have supported this are as follows
Labour: Maria Eagle (shown above), Dan Jarvis and Sarah Champion
Conservative: Bob Neill, Jeremy Wright, Andrew Selous, Crispin Blunt, Ed Timpson, Sally-Ann Hart (shown above) and Danny Kruger MP.