LAST week, I found myself in the unusual position of being in the ‘aye’ voting lobby of the House of Commons, surrounded by Labour and Conservative MPs, but no members of the Government.
I was voting to back an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill to introduce mandatory six-months’ imprisonment for a second conviction of possessing a knife. But because it was not agreed Coalition policy, with Conservatives supporting the move and the Lib Dems opposed, the Government had to stay neutral.
The Worthing Herald’s story about the horrific injuries inflicted on a man by a local knife-wielding gang reinforces why I believe we have to get tougher on knife crime.
It is because of cases like this, and the alarming insight into gang life I received while filming a TV programme about gangs in Birmingham, that meant I strongly supported changing the law. On this occasion, I was in the majority and the law has now been changed. As we get nearer to the general election, we are likely to see more divisions between the governing parties – such is coalition politics!
Back in the constituency, the impressive Shoreham Academy was invaded by more than 200 ‘eco-warriors’ from 15 local schools as it hosted my seventh annual Eco Summit. Since 2008, we have brought together primary and secondary pupils to share environmental best practice – everything from reducing energy use, improving recycling, building greenhouses from recycled plastic bottles to turning plastic bags into garden furniture. The eco-warriors left fired up, determined to make a positive difference to our planet. Find out more at www.eyeproject.co.uk
Last Saturday, at Christ Church, Worthing I found myself in 1884 surrounded by drunks, rioters and an imposter MP. The Worthing Community Play brilliantly reminded us of a notorious part of our history when the then militant Salvation Army and Worthing Women’s Temperance League sparked riots.
This was an excellent initiative – wouldn’t it be great to involve the good people of Adur in a similar project to bring history to life there, too?