During my time as MP here in South Swindon, I have worked closely with Swindon MS and Neuro Therapy Centre, so it was great to visit the centre again on Friday and catch up with staff and service users.
The Swindon MS and Neuro Centre provide a lifeline to people with neurological conditions in and around Swindon, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, ME, fibromyalgia, and stroke. I was delighted to hear that they are rebranding to be known as the Neuro Wellbeing Centre, so they will be able to help even more people locally with neurological conditions.
I was also pleased to visit Dressability on Friday and learn more about their new de-branding project. Dressability is a fantastic local charity, which supports the clothing needs of individuals with disabilities and those with limited dexterity.
Dressability volunteers working on a de-branding project have been taking in new unwanted branded clothing and removing the identifying logos and tags. Clothing is then made good by skilled volunteers using discrete sewing techniques. The majority of this clothing comes from large corporate organisations undertaking a re-brand or refreshing their image. Some of the clothing has come from local companies in Swindon and some from national companies. Historically, to protect brand identity this clothing has been disposed of, and most ends in landfill.
Some time ago Dressability identified an opportunity to offer this de-branded warm clothing to other organisations and each year they have been delivering to Swindon Night Shelter, Christmas Cares, and Nelson’s Trust to name but a few.
Dressability is keen on sustainability and supporting the most vulnerable and has clothing to give away. They have new de-branded polo shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, and coats available to any local organisation needing this support. To find out more, please email Dressability at firstname.lastname@example.org,uk or by ringing 01793 512878.
Throughout the course of my career, I have seen the justice system from many angles – as prosecution and defence counsel, as a part-time Crown Court judge, as a Member of Parliament serving on the Justice Select Committee, as a Law Officer of the Crown, and as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.
In my maiden speech to Parliament twelve years ago, I set out my belief in what I called a smarter sentencing system. For far too long, our justice system has been beset by complex and confusing laws, which the public often feel fail in their most essential aims – to keep them safe and properly punish offenders.
In my previous role as Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, I worked hard to set out a plan for a radical sentencing overhaul to crack down on crime and protect the public by ensuring that dangerous criminals are kept in prison for longer. I am glad that this week, these landmark reforms to better protect the public have now come into effect.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act equips police with the powers and tools they need to combat crime while overhauling sentencing laws to protect the public and keep serious sexual and violent offenders behind bars for longer.
These include making whole life orders the starting point for pre-meditated child murder, introducing mandatory life sentences for those who unlawfully kill emergency workers in the line of duty, and ending the automatic early release of offenders deemed to be a danger to the public.
Domestic abuse victims will now have more time to report incidents of common assault or battery, and taking non-consensual photographs or video recordings of breastfeeding mothers will be punishable by up to two years in prison. The most violent and sexual offenders, including rapists, will also be forced to spend longer in prison to keep the public safer.
Other sentencing reforms, which have come into force this week include higher maximum penalties for a range of child cruelty offences, known as Tony’s Law. In addition, judges will now be able to hand down life sentences to dangerous drivers who kill on our roads and can impose whole life orders on 18-20-year-olds who commit the worst offences – for example, acts of terrorism which cause mass loss of life.
I am pleased that these new laws have come into effect, which will help to keep the public safe and properly punish offenders, and am proud to have been the Secretary of State who developed and introduced these proposals to Parliament.