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Layla Moran: “Make 2020 the year that we finally scrap the Vagrancy Act”

January 30, 2020 1:19 PM
By Rugby Lib Dems
Originally published by Rugby Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has urged LD demand betterthe Government to adopt her legislation this year and "finally scrap the Vagrancy Act" during a homelessness debate in Parliament.

The MP has warned that "even one person sleeping rough in this country in 2020 is a disgrace" as she brings back to Parliament her campaign to scrap the Vagrancy Act.

Layla Moran has also warned against the "out of sight, out of mind mentality'" shown in the installation of a new gate close to MPs' and peers' private entrance to Westminster tube station.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said:

"Even one person sleeping rough in this country in 2020 is a disgrace. We need to be taking a more compassionate approach to tackling this crisis. The Vagrancy Act, a Dickensian law from 1824 that criminalises rough sleeping, represents the first hurdle on that journey.

"According to a new survey commissioned by the charity Crisis, 71% of people think arresting people for sleeping rough is a waste of police time. Over half said that it shouldn't be a crime at all, and of course it shouldn't!

"Liberal Democrats want to make 2020 the year that we finally scrap the Vagrancy Act. Ministers should be in no doubt, my Bill can be brought back in a heartbeat with their support.

"Frankly, if there was a sizeable amount of political will in this House to spend £500,000 to make Big Ben bong for Brexit, then I firmly believe that there must be the will to repeal this law and work harder to eliminate homelessness in all its forms."

New statistics from Crisis show that a majority of people (71%) think arresting people for sleeping rough is a waste of police time, with over half stating rough sleeping should not be considered a crime at all. Their full media release is here.

Layla's Vagrancy (Repeal) Bill from the last parliament can be viewed here.

The Opposition Day debate on homelessness took place in the chamber of the House of Commons on 29 January 2020.