Today I asked the Leader of the House about the 10 people who failed to attend Court last month in connection with the horrific mass brawl on Norwich Road in November. The behaviour of these 10 individuals demonstrates an appalling level of contempt for our justice system and all those in Ipswich who were affected by the incident.
I have been in contact with Suffolk Constabulary since these 10 individuals failed to attend, including to offer my support in getting the full force of the Government behind catching these fugitives. While one of the 10 has now been arrested, the other 9 are suspected to have fled to another EU country.
That’s why I urged the Leader of the House to work with colleagues across Government and with Suffolk Constabulary to bring the remaining 9 back to this country to face our courts, including in the issuing of any European Arrest Warrants if necessary. Bringing fugitives like this back must also be something we can continue to do after the EU transition period is over, especially if those who fled did so under Freedom of Movement rules.
I am glad that the Leader of the House shares my outrage and that of many Ipswich residents about what has happened in this case and that he’ll be raising it with the Home Secretary shortly. I’ll continue to work with the police and with Ministers to ensure that those who have flouted our justice system are brought back to justice and receive the appropriate punishment for this serious crime.
Earlier today I used an urgent question on the UK-EU negotiations to ask the Cabinet Office Minister about the unacceptable increase in illegal immigration across the English Channel and how we can take a more robust approach after the transition period has ended. Here’s what I said:
“We have recently seen an unacceptable increase in the number of illegal migrants entering this country through unauthorised crossing of the English Channel. Does my Right Honourable Friend agree with me that being tied to EU rules and regulations during the transition period makes the return of illegal migrants more difficult and that this underlines the importance of ending it on the 31st December? And will he assure me and my constituents today, that the UK will rebuff any EU attempt to make a new deal on illegal migration contingent on us conceding in other areas of negotiations?
I used Justice Questions today to ask the Lord Chancellor if he was confident that the law was on the side of the police and the law-abiding public in light of the disruptive Extinction Rebellion protests last year and the criminal damage and violence we saw over the weekend. Here’s what I said:
“Following the immensely disruptive Extinction Rebellion protests last year and the violence and criminal damage we saw committed over the weekend by a small minority of thugs, is my Right Honourable Friend confident that the law as it stands is on the side of the law-abiding majority and our brave police officers who have really stood up and been counted over the last couple of months?”
Today I was able to ask the Home Secretary about the atrocious violence towards police officers and the criminal damage we have seen over the weekend, including the defacement of the statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square on the 76th Anniversary of D-Day.
The minority of thugs and vandals behind this must be brought to justice and face robust repercussions for their ignorant actions.
After the Extinction Rebellion protests last year and the disorderly scenes this weekend, it’s vital that the right balance is struck between upholding people’s right to peaceful protest and ensuring police have the powers to come down hard and fast on criminal damage and mass disruption.
The law-abiding public expect us to get this balance right and I’ll work to ensure the police have everything they need to maintain public order on our streets.
Thank you to everyone who wrote in about with their latest views on the Government’s plans to introduce a quarantine for international arrivals from next week. On Wednesday, I got the chance to share them in a question to the Home Secretary in the Chamber.
It is disappointing that the quarantine was not introduced earlier when there were deep concerns during the peak of Covid-19 that 15,000 people were still flying into the country every day and the impact this could have on public health. I called on the Government at the time to introduce much stricter controls at the border.
Now on balance I think it’s right that this quarantine still goes ahead because preventing a second wave of the virus must be the top priority. But we also have to factor in that we aren’t where we were a number of weeks ago and other considerations are becoming increasingly important. In the Chamber I mentioned the particular contact I’ve had with people who have loved ones, including spouses, in other countries who are now hoping to make plans to visit them after months apart.
That’s why I called on the Home Secretary to take a flexible approach towards the quarantine moving forwards. We need robust health measures at the border but we must also be prepared to strike a balance where it is safe to do so.