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Tory rebels plan to decriminalise rough sleeping by repealing 200-year-old law

Tory rebels plan to decriminalise rough sleeping by repealing 200-year-old law

Tory rebels plan to decriminalise rough sleeping by repealing 200-year-old law
Apr 01, 2024 55 secs

Rough sleeping could be fully decriminalised after 200 years under proposals from rebel Conservative MPs to repeal legislation dating from the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars.

Under proposals announced by the former home secretary Suella Braverman, police in England and Wales are to be given powers to fine or move on rough sleepers deemed to be causing a “nuisance”.

Several dozen are supporting proposals by Bob Blackman, the Tory MP coordinating the rebellion, to remove parts of the bill that criminalise rough sleeping and repeal the 200-year-old Vagrancy Act.

The government has committed to repealing the Vagrancy Act 1824, which was introduced to target wounded soldiers who began begging on the streets after returning from the Napoleonic wars homeless and destitute.

Nickie Aiken, the Tory MP for Cities of London and Westminster and a longstanding campaigner against the Vagrancy Act, said: “I’ve been working with Bob Blackman on the amendment as it’s ridiculous to think we should criminalise rough sleepers.

The Lib Dem MP Layla Moran said: “The heartless proposals in the criminal justice bill risk bringing back the Vagrancy Act by the backdoor.

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