Last Friday saw a welcome break from Brexit if you can believe it… to consider Private Members Bills.
Once again Christopher Chope made the headlines after objecting to a Bill to make female genital mutilation (FGM) illegal. His objection was based on a process point however this is, in my view, still a much needed piece of legislation that would have protected children from abuse.
Last year in the space of just three months over 1,000 cases were newly recorded. So I am pleased the Prime Minister announced she will be finding time to deliver this Bill and take further action to tackle FGM.
Despite this, other legislation did pass and I spoke in two of the debates. The first, Finns Law, amends the Animal Welfare Act to better protect animals serving in the police. This all began when police dog Finn was stabbed in the chest and head with a 10-inch blade whilst assisting in an arrest with his handler, PC Wardell. Finn refused to release the suspect, even after being stabbed, in an effort to protect his handler who walked away with a stab injury to the hand.
Finn too survived after hours of life-saving surgery and an 11-month recovery. Despite his service, there aren’t currently the protections in place to protect serving animals in law, so I was happy to support it.
Preparing for the speech, gave me the opportunity to find out more about our local service dogs like, PD Sparky, PD Lottie, PD Gonzo and specialist dog’s PD Jack and PD Bobby, who have all been involved in arrests in Sussex over the past few months. These dogs provide an invaluable service helping find missing people, arrest car thief’s and discover illegal substances in drug raids.
I also spoke in a Bill that extends current legislation that’s designed to return items that were looted by the Nazis during the Second World War.
It is estimated that approximately 100,000 items have still not been repatriated to their original owners or families.
It was particularly poignant that this bill was debated having recently reflected on one of humanities darkest periods during Holocaust Memorial Day.
I am pleased this Bill was passed so we are one step closer to ensuring that we give people back what is rightfully theirs, especially having lost so much already.
If you want to keep up to date with my contributions in Parliament visit my website gilliankeegan.com