Stephen has said the government is failing acid attack victims by refusing to introduce new laws to crack down on the vicious assaults.

Prior to the summer recess, Stephen led a debate in the House of Commons where he called on the government to make it illegal to carry acid. However, Ministers  have only committed to deal with acid attacks by enforcing existing laws more strongly.

Stephen has accused the Government of playing down the problem, telling The Sun: “It seems they don’t really want people talking about this if they can help it.” Speaking about the laws which he wants to see introduced - particularly the ban on sales of sulphuric acid to anyone who does not have a licence to purchase it - Stephen said: "We have got to make it riskier to carry acid.”

Stephen began his campaign after several acid attacks took place over the summer, mostly in London, with motorbike riders among the innocent members of the public targeted by thugs.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd vowed to act - but stopped short of proposing new legislation. Last week minister Sarah Newton sent a letter to MPs insisting that “good progress is being made” on the action plan to prevent the attacks.

AuthorStephen Timms

Stephen has shown his support for improving careers advice for young people.

Speaking at an event in Parliament organised by the Association of Colleges, Stephen said:  

"Speaking at theI know how important education and training is in my constituency.  We have to make sure that young people are provided with the support and guidance they need to succeed in their chosen career.

"To ensure that the education and training 16 to 19 year olds receive is high quality, the right investment is needed.  At the moment, schools and college receive on average £4,531 per 16 to 18 year old student.  This is compared to £5,751 for 11 to 16 students and £8,781 in the higher education sector.  

"The consequences of this funding has had a significant impact on young people who receive on around 15 hours of teaching and support each week.  When compared with students in Canada (26 hours) or Shanghai (30 hours), our students are being short changed.

"Today I have shown my support for this important issue by taking part in a photocall arranged by the Association of Colleges, which is highlighting the funding problems for 16 to 19 year old students."

AuthorStephen Timms

Stephen has revealed the staggering amount lost on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in East Ham and backed the work of the FOBT All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in Parliament, expressing his support for the Group’s ‘Cut the Stake, Reduce FOBT Harm’ campaign.  

FOBTs allow punters to stake £100 every 20 seconds on electronic versions of casino games such as roulette, but in a low supervision high street bookie environment. Political concern and controversy has been growing about the highly addictive nature of the machines, with one campaign group even calling them the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling.

The cross party group of MPs and Peers, published its report in January 2017, assessing the impact of FOBTs, and called for a substantial reduction in the maximum stake playable, stating that there was a strong case for this to be no more than £2.

The campaign has secured the widespread support with the General Synod of the Church of England, 93 local authorities, the Royal Society for Public Health and politicians from all parties supporting the campaign.

Lending his support to the campaign for a stake reduction, Stephen said:
“The case for action on FOBTs is clear and I urge the Government to act now and cut the stake. There is no excuse for the continued misery these machines are causing. The problems associated with them are obvious, and it is really not acceptable to be able to walk in off the street and stake such a high amount with no checks or safeguards in place whatsoever.

"I am extremely concerned to hear that £9,683,104 was lost to FOBTs in East Ham. We cannot go on with this situation. I urge the Government to bring forward their proposals, and to substantially reduce the stake on FOBTs/cut the stake on FOBTs to £2 without further delay."

The Government is currently considering responses from the Call for Evidence into Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility launched in October 2016. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is expected to publish the next stage of the Review, with its proposals, in October 2017.  

AuthorStephen Timms

Stephen has led a debate in the House of Commons calling for stricter sentences on those who commit acid attacks. Stephen tabled for the debate after figures showed an increasing trend of acid attacks in London.

During his speech on Monday evening, Stephen called for tougher sentences; a crackdown on sales; and a new criminal offence for those found carrying sulphuric acid. His comments were echoed by neighbouring MP, Lyn Brown, who said: "...we need to make sure that we control those substances too, because sales will move online if it’s not possible to buy at the corner shop.”

Responding to Stephen, Home Office Minister, Sarah Newton MP said the government will be doing “everything possible to tackle the emerging threat”, with those who commit acid attacks being subjected to the “full force of the law”. Earlier in the day she already indicated acid attack convictions could soon carry life sentences as part of a crackdown on corrosive substances unveiled by the government, which includes a review of existing measures.

Speaking afterwards, Stephen said: “I welcome the announcement that the government will be looking at acid attacks over the summer recess. I will be asking Ministers for an update when the House of Commons returns in September. There can be no reason to delay action on these wicked attacks."

AuthorStephen Timms

Stephen has lent his support to a new ivory surrender launched by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to help protect elephants from further slaughter for the illegal ivory trade.

Members of the public are being invited to surrender their own ivory which will be destroyed as part of a campaign to close the UK’s ivory market and save this iconic species from the threat of extinction.

IFAW, which has run previous successful public ivory surrenders in the UK, believes it is vital now more than ever before that the British public stand up for elephants by helping to end consumer demand for ivory products and keep up the pressure for a domestic ban on the ivory trade.
New polling released by IFAW reveals that the vast majority of the UK public want to protect elephants with a UK trade ban and do not wish to purchase ivory themselves. An overwhelming 95% of respondents polled by YouGov stated that they would not be interested in purchasing antique ivory. 

Stephen said: “With elephant populations at an all-time low and the species facing extinction due to the ivory poaching crisis which is killing at least 20,000 elephants each year, I am very pleased to support this important IFAW initiative which enables members of the public to make a real difference for elephants and their future survival. I would encourage any of my constituents who have unwanted ivory to support IFAW’s ivory surrender which will help ensure that ivory is only valued on a live, wild elephant, where it belongs.”

AuthorStephen Timms