Ahhh, the glamour of being on the political front line. Or lack of it.
One moment, you’re a mere backbencher, one of the most junior MPs in the House of Commons, with less than a year’s seniority. The next, after a whirlwind week, you’re on the telly discussing dangerous dogs with TV’s Richard Madeley, no less…
Steve Reed OBE, MP for Croydon North, looked to the manor born on the BBC today, castigating the government for failing to put up a suitable spokesman on the Daily Politics to debate Labour proposals about hounds from hell with which, surely, no one should disagree (although the ConDem government has managed to do so).
Reed, who this time last year was no more than leader of Lambeth borough council, was promoted into Ed Miliband’s shadow Home Office team in the Labour leader’s reshuffle last week. Yesterday, he was called to make his first speech in his new role, when he was expected to make the case for ASBOs for dangerous dogs. Or ASBOnes, as we like to call them at Inside Croydon Towers.
The proposed dog control notices – DCNs – would see vicious animals banned from the streets or forced to be kept muzzled or on a lead. Stricter penalties against irresponsible owners are also being considered.
The notices are already used in Scotland, and would also see owners forced to take their dog to training sessions to improve behaviour.
“The victims of dangerous dogs deserve better and stronger powers than the government have proposed,” Reed said.
DCNs have already been given the backing of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee but have so far been rejected by ministers. In a report earlier this year the committee said the cost of enforcing the orders would be cheaper than paying for the treatment of those injured in dog attacks.
The report concluded: “The government [should] reconsider its rejection of our recommendation and legislate to introduce Dog Control Notices to provide law enforces with tailored powers to tackle aggressive dogs.”
Ministers in the ConDem government argue the proposals being discussed, which allow local councils such as Croydon to ban dogs from playgrounds (and so gives them yet another under-funded enforcement task) will be enough to tackle dangerous animals. And we all know how well the status quo has worked.
All very worthy. Wonder, though, whether it is what Reed had in mind when he got the call from his party leader. It’s hardly The West Wing, after all.
Coming to Croydon
- Arena academy public meeting: Oct 16
- Crystal Palace Concerts – “I have a dream”: Oct 17
- The Firebird, family concert: Oct 20
- Lakes Playground group’s fundraising Zumba-ween: Oct 26
- PJ’s enterprising look at Black History Month: Oct 29
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
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- Met Police figures show muggings in Croydon up by 12% (insidecroydon.com)
- Council faces massive compensation bill over housing failings (insidecroydon.com)
- Clean Up Croydon! (cleanupcroydon.com)
- Labour MP Steve Reed appointed Shadow Home Office minister (pinknews.co.uk)