Peterborough MP Lisa Forbes: Why I’m backing the Peterborough Telegraph campaign on dangerous drivers who kill

Lisa Forbes THA
Lisa Forbes THA

In an interview conducted with the Peterborough Telegraph last week, I pledged my support for their campaign to introduce tougher sentences for intoxicated drivers whose recklessness results in deaths on our roads, writes Peterborough MP Lisa Forbes.

I commend them for the support they’ve garnered so far, particularly as it’s forced the Attorney General to review the jail term given to drink driver Tommy Whitmore, who killed three people in a crash on the Frank Perkins Parkway in our city.

There has been anger at killer driver's sentence.

There has been anger at killer driver's sentence.

While the maximum sentence for this offence is 14 years, Tommy Whitmore was sentenced to 8 years, and on good behaviour – could serve only half of that.

The campaign, spearheaded by the Peterborough Telegraph and the grieving families of those who were tragically killed, illustrates how strongly people feel about this issue. There have too many cases nationwide where grieving families are angry and insulted at sentences handed down to drunk drivers who have caused them unimaginable pain and loss.

It’s time for the government to show leadership and take action on this. In 2017, the government laid out proposals that would have introduced life sentences for those who kill on the roads when under the influence of drink or drugs. However, since then, there has been no legislation brought to Parliament regarding this. In truth, this is emblematic of a wider issue with Theresa May’s time in government.

Preoccupied with political chaos, government has failed to bring in meaningful legislation throughout their time in power. In this case, this parliamentary tumbleweed has failed to fix our justice system, and help bring about justice for those families who have lost loved ones due to thoughtless drunk drivers.

The road safety charity Brake has slammed the government’s “eight months of inaction” and also support the proposals to introduce tougher sentences for those who kill driving carelessly or under the influence.

It is a grave injustice that grieving families have not seen any progress on this, despite numerous calls from both those who’ve lost loved ones and experts in the field to push this legislation through.

The solution is plain as day, the government just needs the political will to make the change. In the coming weeks, I will be writing a letter to the Justice Secretary urging them to finally turn these proposals into reality in honour of Marko Makula, Jana Kockova and Tomas Kocko – the victims of the crash on Frank Perkins Parkway – as well as all those who have died as a result of dangerous and drunk driving.

In my opinion, the essence of politics, and my role as your Member of Parliament and voice in Westminster is very simple: justice. Justice for those who deserve better from this government, and particularly, justice for those who have been wronged.

Through the PT’s campaign, we have an opportunity to bring about that justice. I will do my utmost to ensure that we do.