SW1 will be crestfallen to hear Claudia Webbe is being kicked off the Foreign Affairs select committee, before she’d even had one chance to ask Liz Truss any questions about ‘Be’rus’. The news, confirmed in today’s Order Paper, is hardly surprising; even ignoring her recent harassment conviction, figures out last month showed her to have the worst attendance of any FCO committee member, turning up to just 18 out of 39 meetings. Is there no legal action Tom Tugendhat can take for her shirking of duties?
Meanwhile Diane Abbott is set to join the Justice Committee after Tory MPs’ plan to install her as chair of the Home Affairs Committee failed. Thankfully she’ll be able to draw on her familial experience of the justice system…
UPDATE: Skwawkbox points out that Webbe joined the Foreign Affairs Committee in May 2020, several months after other members. Figures for the 2021-2022 session reveal that “much-disliked Labour right-winger Neil Coyle“, who joined the Committee at the same time as Webbe, is in fact its most truant member. Coyle has attended just 7 of the 18 meetings, while Webbe has put in the legwork and showed up to 12. This is despite Coyle not having to take time off to appear in Court as a defendant. Guido is more than happy to correct the record, and thanks Skwawkbox for their help.
Priti Patel is promising that a Tory majority government would launch a review into the way the criminal justice system deals with assaults on emergency workers, with a view to doubling maximum sentences. The rising number of assaults on NHS staff, paramedics, firefighters and police and prison officers has come despite the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker doubling from 6 to 12 months last year. It would be irresponsible not to look at doubling the sentence again.
Home Secretary Priti Patel says:
“I’ve been appalled by the increasing numbers of assaults on our brave police officers and am not going to stand for it. Part of the solution is giving police the resources and powers they need to keep themselves safe, but we also need to make sure that the punishment for assaulting an officer truly fits the crime. I will always have the backs of the police and want to see those who do them harm behind bars for longer.”
This is against a backdrop of over 30,000 assaults on police officers last year. 20,578 were crimes of ‘assault without injury on a constable’ recorded across all forces, an increase of 13% compared with 18,138 in the previous year. 10,399 crimes of ‘assault with injury on a constable’ recorded across all forces, an increase of 27% compared with the previous year.
Last year Daniel Hilton, who bit a police officer, was the first person to be jailed under new laws to protect emergency workers. He was charged with a common assault offence under the new Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018. Under Priti Patel’s proposed new laws attackers convicted of the offence face a maximum of 12 months behind bars instead of six. It will be very interesting to hear what the Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, thinks about the proposal….
The son of Diane Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary, has been arrested for biting a police officer on Whitehall on Friday. He was charged in Westminster magistrates court yesterday. Cambridge-educated James was bailed over to appear in Central London magistrates court in February.
The incident happened outside the Foreign Office from where he was sacked from his Rome Embassy job in June. More to follow…
UPDATE: Guido understands Abbott has pulled out of a TV Debate tomorrow. She has been subbed in for by Shadow Policing Minister, Louise Haigh.