MP Liz McInnes calls on government to include reforms to dangerous driving sentences in Queen’s Speech
Date published: 08 October 2019
The wreckage from a collision caused by dangerous driving which instantly killed Joseph Brown-Lartey in 2014
In a letter to the Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland, Heywood and Middleton MP Liz McInnes has called on the Conservative government to use the forthcoming Queen’s Speech to renew their commitment to reforms that would ensure tougher sentences for those who cause death by dangerous driving.
The Conservative government first announced these reforms back in October 2017, following a lengthy campaign by families who had lost loved ones as a result of dangerous driving offences.
Outraged on behalf of the families, Ms McInnes said: “These families should not be left waiting any longer for this small token of justice. I have written to the Justice Secretary to ask him to renew the government’s commitment to these reforms and offer some much-needed reassurance to these families by including them in the Queen’s Speech.”
Ms McInnes first began campaigning for tougher sentences for road crimes following the death of her constituent Joseph Brown-Lartey. Joseph was killed tragically in Rochdale when an 18-year-old, unlicensed and uninsured driver sped through a red light and smashed into his car.
The driver, Addil Haroon, was sentenced to only six years in prison and ended up serving just three.
Ms McInnes joined the Justice for Joseph Campaign, set up by Joseph’s family and journalist Michelle Livesey, to push for a change in the law.
The wreckage of Joseph's car was paraded outside Parliament in 2016 as his parents called for stiffer sentences for those who kill on the roads.
Ms McInnes is disappointed that the government has failed to honour its promise: “Myself and over 80 MPs have written to the government several times demanding that these reforms be brought forward. Yet no legislative proposals have been introduced. The response we have continuously received has been that: 'we will bring forward these proposals for reform as soon as parliamentary time allows'. It is hard to believe that no such opportunity has arisen over the past two years.”
Ms McInnes is now stepping up the pressure on the government once again and believes that the Queen’s Speech, offers a suitable opportunity for the government to renew its pledge.
In her letter to the Justice Secretary Ms McInnes wrote: “I know you will agree that such an occasion is a fitting one to indicate the importance and urgency that these reforms merit, given that they could finally correct the law on sentences for causing death by dangerous driving.”
The Queen’s Speech, which sets out the government’s legislative agenda for the forthcoming session of parliament, is expected on the 14 October.
Ms McInnes hopes that as well as providing some form of justice for the affected families, tougher sentences for dangerous driving will act as a deterrent to help reduce the occurrence of such tragic cases and ensure other families do not have to suffer the same devastation.
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