Richard Graham is the Conservative candidate for Gloucester. Read more about his campaign on his website.
About a month ago Jenni Russell of the Sunday Times started an article "Richard Graham is willing to go to jail". She was, and is, right: I am.
For what and why? For the principle that there is no need for the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) rules to go as far as they do: that they interfere with the normal relations between adults and young people, and risk damaging the contribution of an army of volunteers and volunteer drivers. And because I believe that the law, on this occasion, is an ass, I am prepared to be locked up so that everyone may see it is so - knowing that the personal consequences may be tough indeed.
Let me give you the particular example that led me to take this stand. In the summer I play for the Gloucester City Wingate Cricket Club (GCWCC) 4th team. We are usually 3 or 4 relative veterans and 7 or 8 under 18 year olds. Quite often my younger son, 13, plays. And quite often, whether he is playing or not, I give lifts to some of the side - to their homes after a home game, or to and from the cricket club to our opponents' club if away. The other adults do the same.
I said I would happily ring the parents of all the group of youngsters who play for us at the beginning of the season and ask them if they are happy for me to continue giving their sons a lift. They will be puzzled by the question and confirm it's very helpful. And that is all, so far as I'm concerned, that needs doing. There is no reason for the government to get involved, to demand a CRB check specially for this activity, to ask the GCW cricket club to keep a list of approved persons or to get involved with the business of lifts at all. It is up to us to arrange things sensibly. So I object strongly - because I can see millions of people just saying 'well if that's what they want when I'm helping with the scouts/rugby training/match driving, I'll just stop doing it'. Which would be a tragedy.