Results are in for local elections and there is not much change for the Brent Council as it still holds majority Labour seats. The Lib Dems lost one seat in Mapesbury to Labour and the Conservative party kept its three seats for the Kenton ward but lost its hold on Brondesbury Park. This suggests rising crime rates in the area might be a reason for Labour’s takeover.
Councillor for Kenton Suresh Kansagra highlights the importance of having Conservative representation in the majority Labour council: “We are going to provide effective opposition and scrutinise the decisions of the council.” Reg Colwill, another Conservative councillor, says they “work very well with the labour group so we are working together and getting things done”.
It is certainly important when budget cuts are increasing as well as resident expectations. “The hardest thing is getting across to residents the gravity of where local government is in terms of its budgets and resourcing”, says Shama Tatler, Labour councillor for Fryent.
There were no wins for the Lib Dems or the Green Party, yet candidates for the latter beat Conservatives and Lib Dems in some wards. Samuel Hopkins, Green Party candidate for Kensal Green says this means there is “hunger for a Green representative” across Brent.
Willesden Green was the only ward that didn’t hold elections after they were called off following the passing of Lesley Ann Jones, the ward’s longest serving Labour councillor on Monday 30 April. A by-election will be held after the party has selected a new candidate.
So very sad to hear of the passing of my comrade, ward colleague and partner in crime, Lesley Jones MBE. A beatnik in her youth, she was a warm person who took duty seriously – as a ward Cllr, a cabinet member, and as Mayor. Someone to look up to. Thinking of her family.
These local elections are being held after anti-semitism, Windrush and Grenfell fire scandals have affected Britain’s major political parties, Conservatives and Labour. However, there has been little to no change to how local councils have been elected across the country.
Labour achieved a solid set of results in the local elections.
Local elections in England show the Conservatives doing better than expected due to the decline in the UKIP vote.Tories are thus becoming more dependent on Leave voters, especially in Leave areas. Failure to secure a real Brexit could therefore seriously undermine them in future.
Everything you need to know about this act and what you can do to make it illegal.
After months of campaigning from different sides, Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath, tabled a parliamentary bill to make ‘upskirting’ a criminal offence. Having cross-party support, it is to be debated on 11 May. But what exactly are MPs debating?
‘Upskirting’ is the act of photographing someone’s groin area beneath their skirt (also applies to dresses) without their consent. It is often performed in public places where it is hard to spot offenders.
A recent Freedom of Information request done by the Press Association revealed that only 34 percent of police forces in England are keeping records as it is not classified as a sexual offence. Only 11 out of 78 offenders pursued were charged since 2015.
A 10 year old girl was involved in one of these cases, but it couldn’t be taken forward because of insufficient evidence, as reported by Avon and Somerset Police.
Similar cases have led to girls wearing shorts to school underneath their skirts to protect themselves from being exposed. Dr. Mary Bousted, president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) told The Daily Telegraph: “Social media just provides a new vehicle, another way girls can be harassed.”
A few weeks ago, @hollywills called out for the paparazzi to stop #upskirting, and rightly so. Sadly, it isn't just celebrities that are experiencing this. School should be a safe environment for girls, not somewhere that they feel the need to "cover up". https://t.co/wN2N7RkCiW
Campaigners are working towards amending the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill 2017-19 currently passing through Parliament. Clearer laws are needed regarding image-based sex abuse, especially when it involves minors.
Gina Martin became a lead campaigner for upskirting becoming a sexual offence after her own experience at the British Summer Time music festival in London’s Hyde Park. Making the offender delete the picture was the only thing the police could do, and her case was closed because there was no legal way to prosecute.
Martin says: “So many cases can’t be prosecuted because there is no specific offence to prosecute it under.”
The Fawcett Society’s sex discrimination law review (SDLR) panel has called to make it an offence on their Final Report published in January. Chief Executive Sam Smethers told The Guardian “technology meant women are experiencing sexual harassment in new ways and that legislation needs to respond”.
🚫 Your body is not public property 🚫 How you dress does not contribute to harassment/abuse 🚫 Sexual harassment is NOT a 'prank' or 'joke' pic.twitter.com/VCW5O04Tqg
A sexual offence happens when there is no consent from any of the parties involved in any kind sexual experience. It can be touching, groping, grabbing, unwanted sexual remarks, penetrating, etc.
This is outlined in the Sexual Offences Act introduced in 2003 for England and Wales, which the Ministry of Justice insists covers upskirting already. The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) say upskirting can be prosecuted under Section 67 of the Act regarding voyeurism or the criminal offence of public nuisance for outraging public decency.
However, the former only applies in private spaces where the victim is “in a place which would reasonably be expected to provide privacy” and they’re in the bathroom, their groin or breasts are covered only with underwear or exposed and/or they’re performing a sexual act that is not of the public kind.
Similarly, the victim is completely disregarded when it is prosecuted for outraging public decency as this revolves around the public and its accepted standards of decency and there must be at least two witnesses of the act.
Gina Martin is working with MPs from all major political parties, law authorities, police high commissioners, academics, and has 98,000 signees on her petition to change the law.
“There is a big gap in the law and it has to be a sexual offence because the law sets precedent of what is right and wrong in society. It would also means victims have anonymity and persecutors are prosecuted as sex offenders as they should be.”
Graphics by author
How can you help?
You can write to your local MP and sign Gina’s petition on Care2.
You can start your own campaign, like Anna Dovgalyuk, a Russian student trying to make it illegal worldwide. The caption on the video reads: “This video is ‘dedicated’ to all who love to peek under skirts. On the behalf all women who became your victims – here, look! And stay away from us.”
If you’ve been a victim of upskirting, don’t be afraid to tell the authorities. Even if they can’t prosecute the offender, they can make them delete the picture from their phone.
If that makes you uncomfortable, Safeline provides specialist services to support people affected by sexual abuse. They recognise upskirting as a type of abuse.
If you’re not comfortable talking about it but still want to share your story, Martin is building the first data base for upskirting cases.
📣 I'm building the first database of upskirt accounts that TRULY reflects the problem. 📣 PLEASE RETWEET! If you've been upskirted, please input a few simple details (name, when it happened etc). Its confidential and it will help me change the law. ♥️https://t.co/uf6TrFMbCN
With the news that the government may be banning letting agency fees, Sadiq Khan has revealed new development plans to create 12,000 affordable houses in London, and Idris Elba has something to say about it.
Idris Elba has recently slammed the Conservative party for abolishing housing benefits for people aged between 18-21. the actor, who has always lived in Hackney, London had some very strong words for the political party. “The government is trying to take away housing allowances from 18-21-year-olds … Seriously man. No one should be homeless it’s f****** b******t. No one should be hungry.”
In an effort to help the housing crisis the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has recently released plans working with L&Q to invest £8bn into creating 20,000 new homes, and ensuring 60% of them will be affordable housing.
there is no set date on when the ban of letting fees will be put into action, for a brief breakdown of what this could mean for you, check out our previous 60-second breakdown.
You can have your say by looking at the survey about the ban. Additionally, you can also email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Written responses should be sent to: Housing Standards Team, Better Rented and Leasehold Sector Division, 3rd Floor, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF
When you reply please indicate whether you are replying as an individual or submitting an official response on behalf of an organisation and include: – your name, – your position (if applicable), – the name of organisation (if applicable), – an address (including post-code), – an email address, and – a contact telephone number.
Boris Johnson made the news again today, following his unwillingness to pay US taxes. But from becoming a walrus, to the pittance of £250,000, here are 8 things you could learn from Britain’s most popular politician.