MP Harriet Harman urges the government to “listen and change” after commenting on police clashes at Sarah Everard’s vigil over the weekend.
On today’s This Morning episode, the Labor MP said to hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, “Women have put up with this for years,” and said, “There is an opportunity for change and the government needs to listen.”
It was Saturday’s vigil for 33-year-old Sarah Everard, who was sadly murdered after walking home from a friend earlier in his month. Thousands of people came to Clapham Common in London, leading to clashes with police and multiple arrests.
When asked whether the original vigil should have taken place, the former cabinet minister said to the audience: “I think that should have been done, but I think it should have been done by agreement of the Metropolitan Commissioner who dealt with the reclaim thesis in Connection stands roads.
Click the video above to see what she says in full
“They’d all trained their stewards to limit the number, but because she’d just banned it, it just got out of hand and ended up with no one wanting it to end, and actually I think she should be now sit down and talk to them and agree to a vigil. They asked to meet them. “
The MP then revealed that Cressida Dick, the UK’s oldest police chief, had failed to reply to a letter, adding: “This needs clarification because so many women are obviously wanting to say.”
“Not only do we mourn Sarah Everard, but we also don’t feel safe on the streets because the law doesn’t provide adequate protection, and we can change that.”
A number of MPs were very critical of the Commissioner’s treatment of the episode, including Harriet Harman who said it was “incredible” that Dame Cressida “refused to meet or speak to the Reclaim The Streets advocacy group”!
“They reflect the fear and concern of millions of women and girls,” she wrote on Twitter. “If you ignore them, they won’t go away.”
Speaking to Phil and Holly about the bill due in Parliament this afternoon, Harriet continued, “The government introduced a bill in the House of Commons this afternoon with a whole host of other measures, but what followed was of dire concern People who shared their stories on social media about what happened to them.
“Schoolgirls are followed home in the dark when men crawl into their school uniforms, and that’s not even illegal. So we actually have the option to make some changes.
She continued, “It’s strange, isn’t it, that it is a criminal offense for a man to crawl because he wants to buy sex, when he crawls to work in prostitution and it disturbs the neighborhood.”
“But if a man crawls a school girl and calls her to get into his car, it’s not a crime and that should change … Cars and vans should be for driving from place to place, not unwinding your window and doing young girls going home from school after dark, [making] their life is a misery – why should they have to live in fear? “
Harriet added, “I’m pretty optimistic from hearing what the Home Secretary said and what the Prime Minister said.”
Cressida Dick is due to meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a meeting of the Crime and Justice Task Force on Monday March 15 to discuss ways to protect women.
“She’s going to report to the Home Secretary and the Mayor of London, and in a way I don’t want to go into the situation where it’s all about Cressida Dick – should she go or not? … I think she got it miserable. “Harriet said whether Cressida Dick should resign.”
“There are a lot of reports that the City Police, the District Command, as they are called, had a really good relationship with the organizers and somehow the Met Headquarters got involved and things went wrong. But I think the problem is how We now see the reality for women and girls on the street, especially after dark.
“Why would women have to take the longer route because it is the busier route home rather than the short one? Why should they only have to take a cab or Uber for a very short distance? Why should they have their keys in theirs Hand so they are ready? “
She added, “Of course, most men don’t. This is generally not male behavior, but men who actually do it but can get away with it because there is nothing in the law.
“If a girl were able to snap a picture of a license plate on her cellphone while crawling on the side of the road, and if your driver’s license was revoked, your driver’s license, when you were done crawling a roadside school girl, would it stop … “
Harriet, chairman of the Joint Human Rights Committee, plans to amend the law on police, crime, conviction and courts.
“Women have only put up with this for years, that’s the thing. Women and girls probably don’t even tell their mothers, definitely not school,” she said.
“I mean, how many school meetings have been discussing the subject with girls, how do you get home safely? What’s your experience? It’s one of those things that Sarah Everard’s tragic murder women until they really have shared Sarah Everard’s tragic murder women, just fought their teeth and carried on and so now there is actually an opportunity for change and I hope it will happen and I think the government needs to listen. “
The Prime Minister has since spoken out, saying he supports Met Police chief Dame Cressida Dick: “The country is united in shock and grief over what happened to Sarah Everard. We must do everything we can to get the answers Find.”
Boris Johnson says work needs to be done to ensure that complaints of assault are taken seriously and that women feel “rightly heard”.
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