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Stone co-sponsors bill to repeal Vagrancy Act in bid to protect homeless against Coronavirus

By Matt Leslie

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Far North MP Jamie Stone lent his support to co-sponsor a bill to repeal the Vagrancy Act.

Although the Act was done away with in its entirety in Scotland back in 1982, the Act is still in force in both England and Wales.

Mr Stone's fellow Liberal Democrat MP at Westminster, Layla Moran, put forward the bill of which the MP for Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross gave his signature, along with five other MPs, in support.

Ms Moran drafted the bill to help the plight of the homeless in the face of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Mr Stone said: "I am glad that we in Scotland scrapped the Act but I believe the whole of the United Kingdom should follow suit. Being homeless should not be a crime just because you live south of the River Tweed.

"Layla is right. Now more than ever, we need a compassionate approach to homelessness. Coronavirus has made it even more difficult for rough sleepers to access accommodation and healthcare.

"We have a duty to ensure we care for the most vulnerable members of our society. I hope the Conservative Government takes radical action to support rough sleepers during the current COVID crisis."

Ahead of presenting her bill to the House of Commons, Ms Moran said: "Now more than ever, we need a compassionate approach to homelessness. Rough sleepers urgently need accommodation, health checks and support in the face of Coronavirus.

"A new compassionate approach must include scrapping the Vagrancy Act. It is a cruel, Dickensian law that criminalises people just for sleeping rough."

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