Labour and Conservative manifestos commit to Martyn’s Law

Manifestos show laws on vaping restrictions and retail crime will be pushed forward

Conservative and Labour manifestosConservative and Labour manifestos

The manifestos of the two main parties that are likely to form the next government indicated that Martyn’s Law, which aims to ensure public venues are more prepared for a terrorist attack, will be implemented in the new Parliament.

As we covered in a recent blog Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak’s, announcement of a General Election on 4th July, and the subsequent dissolution of Parliament meant a number of changes in the law we had reported on were stalled.

However, the manifestos indicate that a number of laws will be reintroduced in the new Parliament that will meet from 9th July. The State Opening of Parliament and The King’s Speech is scheduled for the Wednesday 17 July 2024.

Martyn’s Law: Venues need to be more prepared for terrorist attacks

The Conservative manifesto stated in its section on its ‘plan for safer streets and justice for victims of crime’, that, “We will urgently introduce Martyn’s Law, in tribute to Martyn Hett, who was tragically killed alongside 21 others in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017. This will ensure premises are better prepared for terrorist attacks by requiring them to take proportionate steps to mitigate risks.”

Meanwhile the Labour manifesto, in its section on strong foundations, stated under national security that, “Terrorism remains a significant threat. Labour will bring in ‘Martyn’s Law’ to strengthen the security of public events and venues. We will update the rules around counter-extremism, including online, to stop people being radicalised and drawn towards hateful ideologies. Labour will also ensure the police and intelligence services have the powers and resources they need to protect the British people from terrorism and hostile espionage.”

Vaping restrictions to be introduced

The government’s Tobacco and Vapes Bill had cross-party support and reached its report stage in the House of Commons before Parliament was dissolved and both manifestos pledge to introduce restrictions on vaping. The Conservatives promised that it would re-introduce the Bill, which banned disposable vapes and introduced other restrictions on the sale of vapes, in the first King’s Speech when Parliament returns.

Labour, in its manifesto, in the section on health services,  said, it “will ban vapes from being branded and advertised to appeal to children to stop the next generation from becoming hooked on nicotine.”

Retail Crime: Commitment to offence for assaulting shop workers

The government had announced in April that it would create a standalone criminal offence for assaulting retail workers, following a campaign by trade unions, trade bodies and major companies. In its manifesto the Conservative said, “We will toughen sentences for knife crime, grooming gangs and assaults against retail workers and combat the ability of serious organised crime gangs to use new technology to harm the public.”

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The Conservatives have listened to the concerns of the retail industry, and we support the calls for new measures against those who assault retail workers. We hope this will take the form of the standalone offence that was part of the Criminal Justice Bill that unfortunately fell when the election was announced.”

Meanwhile Labour made a clearer commitment to the standalone offence and also said it would take tougher action against shoplifters: “With shoplifting soaring, retail workers increasingly find themselves in harm’s way. Labour will scrap the effective immunity for some shoplifting introduced by the Conservatives and create a new specific offence for assaults on shop workers that will protect them from threats and violence.”

Paddy Lillis, general secretary of the shop workers’ union Usdaw, said: “The Government’s dither and delay on retail crime has left thousands of shop workers needlessly suffering physical and mental injury. In stark contrast, Labour is committed to deliver a much-needed protection of shop workers’ law; end the perverse £200 threshold for prosecuting shoplifters, which has effectively become an open invitation to retail criminals and provide more uniformed officers patrolling shopping areas along with town centre banning orders for repeat offenders.”

We will update you after the General Election about how these laws promised in the manifestos progress.