Today Rory personally took Chris Bryant’s Private Members’ Bill, which increases the sentences for those who attack emergency services personnel, through the House of Commons on behalf of the Government.
The Bill introduces new factors to be considered by a judge when sentencing someone who has assaulted a member of the emergency services. These factors will include sexual assault, following the government’s support of an amendment on this matter. Separately, the Bill will create a new aggravated version of the offences of common assault and battery when committed against an emergency worker, while the maximum sentence for common assault will be increased from six to 12 months.
Emergency workers include police, prison officers, custody officers, fire service personnel, search and rescue services and certain healthcare workers, as well as ambulance personnel.
Commenting on this legislation Rory said, “The Bill makes clear that, though an assault on any individual or citizen in our society is a terrible thing, an assault on an emergency worker is an assault on us all. These people are our constituted representatives. They protect society and deliver services on our behalf. Therefore, an attack on them is an attack on us and on the state, and it should be punished more severely than an attack simply on an individual victim”.
Rory, in a speech to the House of Commons this afternoon, praised the honour, dignity, courage and compassion of the best of our prison officers. Watch it here:
Rory, in his capacity as Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice, spoke in the House of Commons today on the new clauses proposed by the Public Bill Committee to the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill. Watch it here:
Rory, David Gauke, Lucy Frazer and Dr Phillip Lee, spoke in the House of Commons to answer Justice Questions on 24 April. Watch it here:
National Care Home Day was introduced in 2012 to strengthen links between care homes and their local communities, encouraging people, clubs, groups and associations to visit homes and understand the work that they do. To that end, Mr Stewart met staff and residents at Cold Springs Care Home, which specialises in residential and residential dementia care, while touring its facilities and watching its carers at work. With the number of people suffering from dementia expected to double in Penrith and The Border over the next twenty years, Rory was eager to learn as much as possible about the home, its residents, its carers and its work with those suffering from this disease.
While at the home, Rory received a presentation from staff members on the various ways in which residents are kept engaged and entertained. These include visits from farmers, who often come with their livestock, the staging of musical performances and through trips outside the home, to meet with local groups such as the Lions and the Salvation Army.
Commenting on his visit, Rory said “I am greatly impressed by what I have seen today. Cold Springs Care Home is a model for how Penrith can come to terms with increasing numbers of those suffering from dementia. The incredible dedication of the staff, who are real professionals, is fantastic to see and I am very much impressed by the innovative activities, visits and trips that they have devised and organised. These carers ensure that their residents can live out fulfilling lives in the increasingly challenging environment of an ageing population. It is a real privilege to visit”.
Staff and students from twelve primary and secondary schools from the constituency assembled to share their views on the best ways of tackling mental health issues for young people. Both groups contributed to a productive discussion with the children, who were aged 9-18, offering particularly insightful suggestions on how mental health can be destigmatised and its sufferers cared for.
Rory and Jacob have previously collaborated on mental health issues, most notably teaming up for “Time To Talk Day” on 1 February 2018. This initiative, which seeks to encourage conversations about mental health, led directly to the organisation of the recent roundtable discussion. The timing was particularly appropriate as the conversation on mental health continues to broaden, with the Health Secretary’s recent letter to social media companies, outlining their responsibilities to protect children’s mental health.
Rory said: “This has been an amazing afternoon and I was proud to participate. Mental health is one of the most important issues of our time and no one is immune from the risk of developing a mental health problem. It is estimated that one in five young people suffer from poor mental health and, for the past three years, young people have consistently identified mental health as their foremost concern. Having these important conversations can make a big difference to many people. The accounts that I heard and the suggestions that were made, were all invaluable and I would like to pay tribute to Jacob for the fantastic work he has done in organising this event and in raising awareness more generally”.
“I support the prime minister’s decisive response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons. These are a cruel and indiscriminate form of attack and I am hopeful that the recent, targeted air strikes will deter their use in the future. Britain, working with France and the United States, has sent a clear message that those who use chemical weapons will be met with a very forceful response from the international community”.
Rory and Ian Porée, the Executive Director for Community Interventions, HM Prison and Probation Service, appeared before the Justice Committee today to answer questions on rehabilitation. Watch it here:
Rory has called for a Tornado aircraft fuselage to be donated to the Solway Aviation Museum, in recognition of Cumbria’s importance to the RAF.
Cumbria and the Lake District have, for over seventy years, been home to RAF bases and squadrons, functioning as training areas and sites for experiments. Today, Cumbria’s connection to the Air Force continues with Military Low Flying Training, on RAF Spadeadam and in Solway Aviation Museum.
As the Tornado fleet comes to the end of its service later this year, aviation museums across the United Kingdom will bid for these aircraft. These long serving large planes, which have flown missions across the Middle East, would prove to be a popular addition to the Solway Aviation Museum, complementing its current collection of RAF jets from the 1950s and 1960s.
To that end, Rory has written to Lord Howe, the Defence Minister, to request that one of the Tornado aircraft fuselages be given to Solway.
Rory said “I have written to Lord Howe to make the case for a Tornado for Cumbria. On the RAF’s Centenary Year it would be a great tribute to the people of Cumbria if a Tornado could be flown into Carlisle Lake District Airport and presented to the Solway Aviation Museum. Cumbria has hosted RAF servicemen since its foundation and continues its proud tradition to this day. For this reason, there is no better place for one of the nation’s fleet to retire to and I have made this case to Lord Howe. I have always enjoyed visiting the museum and very much hope we can secure this exciting new exhibit”.