Thérèse Coffey MP

8 Dec 2010 06:26:31

Ken Clarke's Criminal Justice Green Paper gets a mixed reaction from Tory backbenchers

By Jonathan Isaby

Yesterday Justice Secretary Ken Clarke presented his Green Paper on Criminal Justice, “Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders”. ConHome has already covered some of the announcements contained therein here and here, but here are some of the highlights of what Mr Clarke said in presenting the Green Paper to the Commons and the reaction he got from Tory backbenchers.

Ken Clarke pointing Mr Clarke told the Commons:

"Of course, criminals must face robust and demanding punishments. This means making them work hard both in prison and in the community. More prisoners will face the tough discipline of regular working hours. This has been lacking in most prison regimes for too long. Community sentences will be more credible, with more demanding work and greater use of tough curfew requirements. There will be greater reparation to victims through increased use of restorative justice and by implementing the Prisoners’ Earnings Act 1996. We will bring forward other changes to make sure that more offenders directly compensate the victims of crime.

"But we will take a new approach to the reform of offenders. I regard prison first and foremost as a place of punishment where people lose their liberty as reparation for what they have done, but on top of that, prison cannot continue to be simply an expensive way of giving communities a break. We must give higher priority to ensuring that more prisoners go straight on release.

"Offenders will face a tough and co-ordinated response from the police, probation and other services. It will mean that they must either address the problems that fuel their criminal activity or be caught and punished again."

"The sentencing framework must provide courts with a range of options to punish and rehabilitate criminals and keep the public safe. The sentencing framework has developed in an ad hoc fashion recently, with over 20 Acts of Parliament changing sentencing in the past 10 years. This has left it overly complex, difficult to interpret and administer, and hard for the public to understand. We need to make better use of prison and community sentences to punish offenders and improve public safety, while ensuring that sentencing supports our aims of improved rehabilitation and increased reparation to victims and society. We will therefore simplify the sentencing framework in order to make it more comprehensible to the public and to enhance judicial independence. We will reform community orders to give providers more discretion, and we will encourage greater use of financial penalties and improve their collection."

"Let me assure the House that public safety remains our first priority. We will continue to ensure that serious and dangerous offenders are managed effectively and their risk is reduced through appropriate use of prison and then through the multi-agency public protection arrangements... Any adult who commits a crime using a knife can expect to be sent to prison, and serious offenders can expect a long sentence. For juveniles, imprisonment is always available and will also be appropriate for serious offenders."

There were some voices of considerable scepticism from some Tory MPs sitting behind him:


Continue reading "Ken Clarke's Criminal Justice Green Paper gets a mixed reaction from Tory backbenchers" »

15 Aug 2010 07:00:00

Thérèse Coffey MP answers ConHome's Twenty Questions for the Class of 2010

Here is the latest in our series of Twenty Questions with members of the Class of 2010...

Therese Coffey Commons Thérèse Coffey was elected MP for Suffolk Coastal with a majority of 9,128.

1. What is your earliest political memory? My parents, along with 30,000 other Liverpool City Council employees, being made redundant by Derek Hatton and his crew.

2. Complete the sentence: “I’m a Conservative because… I believe in families, aspiration, responsibility, enterprise and defence of our country."

3. Who is your political hero and why? Margaret Thatcher; she stood up for Britain, for enterprise and for freedom; plus is the only science graduate ever to have been PM.

4. When did you decide you wanted to become an MP? About 2000.

5. What is your reading material of choice? On the internet I read the Tory Trinity of ConHome, Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes plus Coffee House, PoliticsHome, John Redwood and the Telegraph Blogs. I also go to many links off Twitter so follow Paul Waugh as a journalist and a variety of other MPs, esp. Labour links. I also read my local papers, but much prefer to listen than to read.

6. Who is your favourite political interviewer/presenter on TV or radio? Anita Anand, although she is still on maternity leave so Nick Robinson.

7. If you could run any government department, which would it be and why? I'm not aware you got a choice; given my constituency, DEFRA to restore the countryside and the coast at the heart of Whitehall.

8. Which non-Conservative politician do you most admire? I always find this difficult but in this Parliament, I have been impressed by Caroline Flint on her challenge on the anonymity of rape defendants.

9. Who would you least want to get stuck with in a House of Commons lift? One of the many mice/rats prevalent across the Houses of Parliament (The Commoners make do with mice; I understand the Other Place has the rats.)

10. If you were in the US, would you be a Republican or a Democrat? Republican.

11. What do you enjoy doing to unwind and relax? Sleep!

12. What is your favourite book? To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

13. What is your favourite film? My Best Friend's Wedding.

14. What is your favourite music? Muse / Fauré.

15. What would be your ideal meal and where would you eat it? The answer to my favourite meal changes but I will usually go for Roast Beef and all the trimmings; anywhere that is with good friends, pooch, family and a fine glass of wine or beer - preferably a pub with a crackling fire.

16. What is your favourite holiday destination? Apart from Suffolk and the UK (we have such a varied island with so many fine places to visit), the USA.

17. What do you most want to achieve during your first term in Parliament? Be a good constituency MP, broadband across Suffolk, securing A12 bypass and changing government policy on coastal/estuary protection.

18. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about yourself. I can play the trombone.

19. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about your constituency. Average rainfall in Suffolk Coastal is similar to Jerusalem.

20. Share with us your most amusing story or favourite anecdote from the campaign trail. It was such a short campaign and plenty of good humour but perhaps it was being challenged by a constituent (who had told me she was not going to vote for me anyway) about whether or not I had been to her village; when I checked the map and told her the specific roads that I had been to, I was duly chastised and told that I had gone to the "wrong side of the village". It made me chuckle that in such a small village that the perceived divides can be so big.

> Previously: Mike Weatherley MP

30 Jun 2010 10:32:37

Banning the burka and introducing daylight saving time are among the measures proposed in Tory MPs' Private Member's Bills

Thirteen Conservative MPs - including nine of the new intake - were successful in the Private Member's Bill ballot earlier in the month.

Today sees them formally presenting their Bills for the first time (there won't be any debate at this stage), which are summarised as follows on the parliamentary website:

"Bill to require the Secretary of State and local authorities to publish strategies in connection with promoting social enterprise; to enable communities to participate in the formulation and implementation of those strategies; to require that public sector contracts include provisions relating to social outcomes and social value."

DAYLIGHT SAVING BILL - Rebecca Harris MP (Castle Point)
"Bill to require the Secretary of State to conduct a cross-departmental analysis of the potential costs and benefits of advancing time by one hour for all, or part of, the year; to require the Secretary of State to take certain action in the light of that analysis."

"Bill to amend the law relating to the distribution of the estates of deceased persons."

"Bill to prohibit the publication of certain information regarding persons who have been arrested until they have been charged with an offence; to set out the circumstances where such information can be published without committing an offence."

LEGISLATION (TERRITORIAL EXTENT) BILL - Harriett Baldwin MP (Worcestershire West)
"Bill to require the Secretary of State, when preparing draft legislation for publication, to do so in such a way that the effect of that legislation on England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is separately and clearly identified; to require the Secretary of State to issue a statement to the effect that in his or her view the provisions of the draft legislation are in accordance with certain principles relating to territorial extent."

PLANNING (OPENCAST MINING SEPARATION ZONES) BILL - Andrew Bridgen MP (Leicestershire North West)
"Bill to require planning authorities to impose a minimum distance between opencast mining developments and residential properties."

COINAGE (MEASUREMENT) BILL - Mark Lancaster MP (Milton Keynes North)
"Bill to make provision about the arrangements for measuring the standard weight of coins."

"Bill to confer further powers on the Football Licensing Authority and to amend its name."

WRECK REMOVAL CONVENTION BILL - Thérèse Coffey MP (Suffolk Coastal)
"Bill to implement the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks 2007."

FACE COVERINGS (REGULATION) BILL - Philip Hollobone MP (Kettering)
"Bill to regulate the wearing of certain face coverings."

"Bill to enable local planning authorities to require planning permission prior to the demolition or change of use of premises or land used or formerly used to provide a local service."

"Bill to amend section 5 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 to include serious harm to a child or vulnerable adult; to make consequential amendments to the Act."

SECURED LENDING REFORM BILL - George Eustice MP (Camborne and Redruth)
"Bill to make provision regarding the rights of secured debtors; to reform the rights of certain creditors to enforce their security; to make other provision regarding secured lending."

I have invited them all to write for ConHome explaining why the have chosen to introduce their particular Bill, so I hope to be able to publish some pieces from them in the not too distant future.

Jonathan Isaby

31 May 2010 12:14:55

Damian Collins, Stephen Mosley and Thérèse Coffey give vocal backing to nuclear power in their maiden speeches

Among the maiden speeches delivered by new Conservative MPs last Thursday were several which included particularly impassioned defences of nuclear power.

Damian Collins Commons 2 Damian Collins, who is filling the boots of Michael Howard as MP for Folkestone and Hythe, explained his particular constituency interest in nuclear energy, given that it contains the Dungeness power station:

"My constituents heard a very evident mixed message from the last Government: Dungeness was originally included on the Government’s list of possible sites for new build nuclear power stations and was then removed last autumn, and there has followed a consultation process in which my constituents have taken an active and lively interest.

"There is a great deal of support for nuclear power in my constituency. I am sure that hon. Members who have nuclear sites in their constituencies know that there is a good deal of support for them, because they generate a huge number of jobs and important support for the local economy. In my constituency, the area of Dungeness and the Romney marshes remains a relatively deprived part not only of my constituency, but of Kent and the south-east of England. Nuclear power could play an important part in my community.

"It appears from the consultation process launched by the last Government that one of the main reasons why Dungeness was taken off the Government’s list of potential sites was the objections of Natural England. It is one of the Government’s statutory consultees, and in some ways it is only doing its job, but its assessment, based on the habitats regulations, was that the loss of the vegetated shingle in the area around Dungeness power station could not be mitigated, as the landscape was unique. All of us in my constituency would agree that it is a unique landscape, but we are also mindful that the potential development land for the new power station is only 1 per cent. of the entire protected site of special scientific interest around Dungeness, Rye and Romney Marsh; we are talking about a relatively small area of development.

"When, in 1959, the Minister of Power gave consent for the first power station to be built, he reached the conclusion that the mitigation necessary, and the damage to the area, was so small that it could not be said that the building of a power station compromised the integrity of the whole site. I know that my constituents will hope that the new Government can look again at the case for nuclear power in Dungeness and will draw a similar conclusion—that it may be possible to work to mitigate the impact of the building of a new power station without compromising the integrity of the entire site, which is greatly valued not only by my constituents but by people across the country. We see the great value that nuclear power has for our community, and we would like to encourage and support it."

Stephen Mosley Commons Meanwhile, Stephen Mosley, who gained City of Chester from Labour at the election, also added his pro-nuclear power voice to the debate, highlighting that Urenco’s uranium enrichment plant is based at Capenhurst in his constituency:

"Nuclear power is clean. It is a low-carbon source of electricity generation. We have secure long-term supplies of fuel. Modern reactors are incredibly safe, and it is a future technology in which Britain can still lead the world. Operators and owners of nuclear power stations have been jumping at the opportunities offered by the previous Government’s draft nuclear policy statement, and there are now 10 sites judged as potentially suitable on, or near to, existing stations. Those sites obviously have to be subject to the normal planning process for major projects, but the Government need to bring forward a national planning statement for ratification by Parliament as soon as possible."

Therese Coffey Commons Thérèse Coffey follows in John Gummer's footsteps as MP for Suffolk Coastal and also has a relevant constituency interest in nuclear power:

"My diverse constituency also contains our beloved nuclear power station at Sizewell. I hope that we shall have many more reactors there — certainly at least two — before the end of the decade. Several offshore wind farms are also being constructed, with more planned. Suffolk Coastal is ready to take the lead in the low-carbon economy, and I hope that our coast will be able to take on the new alias of the “Green Coast”. So I welcome measures in the Gracious Speech on the low-carbon economy and the green investment bank."

However, while she paid a generous tribute to her predecessor, she opined that she would "not be John Gummer mark 2", saying that she was "very different from John".

She also had cause ot thank another John, the incumbent in the Speaker's Chair, beginning her Commons debut thus:

"Thank you for allowing me to make my maiden speech in this debate on the Gracious Speech, Mr Speaker. It is a particular pleasure to see you in your place, as I recall receiving public speaking training from you 20 years ago, so I hope that this speech shows that I have absorbed some of the wisdom that you imparted."

Jonathan Isaby