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Ministers face Tory revolt over plans to criminalise rough sleeping

Ministers face Tory revolt over plans to criminalise rough sleeping

Ministers face Tory revolt over plans to criminalise rough sleeping
Apr 01, 2024 1 min, 5 secs

Under proposals that form part of the UK government’s flagship crime bill, police in England and Wales are to be given powers to fine or move on rough sleepers deemed to be causing a “nuisance”.

Bob Blackman, the Tory MP who is coordinating the rebellion, told the paper: “A lot of colleagues believe that the bill as it stands is completely unacceptable because it would have the effect of criminalising people who have no choice but to sleep on the streets.

They were announced by the former home secretary Suella Braverman and would give police and local authorities powers to act against “nuisance rough sleeping” in England and Wales.

Senior Tory MPs on the left and right of the party, including the former leader Iain Duncan Smith and the One Nation caucus chair, Damian Green, have signed amendments to the legislation to remove the plans to criminalise rough sleeping.

While she was home secretary, Braverman branded rough sleeping a “lifestyle choice” and declared that “we cannot allow our streets to be taken over by rows of tents occupied by people, many of them from abroad”.

The broad nature of the criminal justice bill has led MPs to use the legislation as an opportunity to attach other proposals, including banning conversion practices and decriminalising abortion in England and Wales.

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