Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill — Third Reading — 2 Nov 2011 at 18:57
The majority of MPs voted to reform legal aid, including removing it from some types of cases, to reform sentencing, and remand and to introduce new offences relating to threatening with a weapon.
The majority of MPs voted in favour of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill at its third reading. Their support for the Bill as it stood enabled it to continue its path towards becoming law.
Key elements of the Bill include
- To transfer the administration of the Legal Aid scheme from the Legal Services Commission to the Lord Chancellor who the Bill requires to designate a civil servant as the Director of Legal Aid to take decisions on individual cases independently.
- To enable the right to free legal advice when held in custody to be removed and made subject to an individuals' financial resources or other criteria.
- The removal of legal aid from some types of cases.
- Setting out factors to consider when determining if legal aid is to be provided in certain circumstances.
- Giving the Lord Chancellor the power to cap the award of costs, paid by the state, except in relation to the Supreme Court.
- Reforming sentencing, including requiring courts to consider compensation orders for certain types of offence, allowing longer sentences to be suspended, and increasing the potential levels of many fines.
- Preventing people being remanded in custody if there is no real prospect of them receiving a custodial sentence on conviction.
- Increases the maximum period in any day for which the court may impose a curfew requirement from twelve to sixteen hours.
- To require that where a person aged under 18 has to be remanded into custody, in most cases they would be remanded into local authority accommodation
- Creates new offences of: "threatening with weapon in public" and " threatening with article with blade or point or offensive weapon" with the latter applying in public places and on school premises as well as "Causing serious injury by dangerous driving" and "squatting in a residential building"
- The law on "Reasonable force for the purposes of self-defence etc" is clarified to make clear there is no "duty to retreat".
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (Aye)||Minority (No)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||262 (+1 tell)||0||0||85.9%|
|Lab||0||220 (+2 tell)||0||86.0%|
|LDem||44 (+1 tell)||2||0||82.5%|
|David Ward||Bradford East||LDem (front bench)||no|
|John Leech||Manchester, Withington||LDem (front bench)||no|