‘Sarah Everard’s murder hit me hard’

It’s a year since the Prime Minister told us to stay at home to halt the spread of Covid-19.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 2:57 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th March 2021, 5:27 pm
Rutland and Melton MP, Alicia Kearns EMN-210318-145248001
Rutland and Melton MP, Alicia Kearns EMN-210318-145248001

A virus we knew so little about, and that we could never have expected to impact our lives in the way it has.

This year has been one of loss, loneliness and great hardships.

When I was elected I said that the silent victories, helping constituents in their darkest of times, would define my time as your MP.

Over the last year tens of thousands of residents and local businesses have reached out to me for support.

In the last week alone, over 300 residents, and we helped stop an unreasonable landlord, secured vaccine bookings for carers, resolved an asylum case, settled a special educational needs issue, helped a victim of sex abuse, fixed a tax credit problem, resolved a cancer treatment delay, secured compensation for a resident, business grants for others and much more.

It can be enormously hard to secure the outcomes residents need, but it is a privilege and joy to deliver these victories.

Over half of Rutland and Melton’s adults have now received at least one dose of the vaccine - an incredible achievement.

50-year-olds can now book vaccination appointments at a mass vaccination hub as well.

No-one in our country has not been hit hard by the desperately sad murder of Sarah Everard.

Sarah was around the same age as me, and I know the fear of walking alone at night, no woman doesn’t.

As an immediate, I am looking at lighting and CCTV in Melton town centre to see what improvements may be needed, but I’m also keen to hear from you as to

what more our communities need to make us all safer.

I am however disappointed by some of opposition to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Put simply, the bill will save lives.

It ends the automatic early release of sexual offenders, introduces tougher electronic monitoring requirements of sex offenders, Sexual Harm Prevention Orders and Sexual Risk Orders, life sentences for killer drivers, tougher sentences for child abuse, doubles the maximum sentence for assaulting emergency workers, ends sports coaches and religious figures from being able to have sex with people aged 16-18 and introduces ‘Kay’s Law’, in memory of Kay Richardson who tragically lost her life at her ex-partner’s hands while he was released under investigation, rather than on bail.

On protests, it does not stop vigils or protests, but it does bring in recommendations from the Law Commission, apply current restrictions on marches to static protests, and end egregious behaviours like those in the summer when ambulances on emergency calls were blocked by protestors.

I am proud to support it, not least because it delivers on promises I made to residents in Melton who lobbied for these changes – including on protests.

Finally, before entering politics, I worked in counter-terrorism so this week’s Integrated Defence Review was of great interest to me.

It is a bold review with resilience and defensive capabilities at its heart.

Personally, I have been pushing for an Atrocity Prevention Unit to be established at the FCDO and I am thrilled that it was announced as part of the review.