Mr Dominic Grieve contributions to the Offensive Weapons Act 2019

Wed 28th November 2018 Offensive Weapons Bill (Commons Chamber)
3rd reading: House of Commons
Report stage: House of Commons
3 interactions (40 words)

Offensive Weapons Bill

(3rd reading: House of Commons)
(Report stage: House of Commons)
Mr Dominic Grieve Excerpts
Wednesday 28th November 2018

(1 year, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Home Office
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Portrait Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown - Hansard
28 Nov 2018, 2:50 p.m.

I am very grateful, Mr Deputy Speaker, to catch your eye in this debate on this important Bill, which contains necessary provisions on the use of corrosive substances and on knives. I think the whole House would applaud that. What the Government should be doing, as I will demonstrate in the few words that I have to say, is acting on the basis of real evidence.

As the hon. Member for Bristol South (Karin Smyth) said, this is the third time that the Government have listed for debate this Bill’s remaining stages. For me, as the lead signatory to amendments trying to remove .50 calibre weapons from the Bill, this is third time lucky. After extensive negotiations with the Government, I persuaded them that there was, as I will demonstrate, no real evidence to ban these weapons, and that they should remove them from the Bill and have a proper evidence-based consultation as to whether these weapons do or do not form a danger to the public.

Mr Dominic Grieve (Beaconsfield) (Con) Hansard
28 Nov 2018, 2:51 p.m.

My hon. Friend may have seen that I sought to intervene on the shadow Minister on this earlier. He may wish to confirm that it is also the case that there are legitimate reasons for wishing to possess these weapons.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Portrait Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown - Hansard
28 Nov 2018, 2:52 p.m.

I am grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend. Of course, those who possess these weapons use them for entirely peaceful purposes. They are some of the most law-abiding people in this country. To ban these weapons on the basis of, as I will demonstrate, very little evidence, if any, is a completely illiberal thing for a Conservative, or indeed any, Government to do.

I thank my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary very much indeed for reviewing the evidence on these rifles. He listened to everything that I and other colleagues had to say. My amendments attracted no fewer than 75 signatures from across the House. I thank every single one of my colleagues who signed them. I particularly thank and pay tribute to the Democratic Unionist party of Northern Ireland, all of whose Members signed them.

There is very little evidence for banning these weapons. The press seemed somehow to think that my amendments were all about Brexit and assumed that all those who had supported them did so to achieve Brexit. Nothing could be further from the truth. We were genuinely—I speak as chairman of the all-party shooting and conservation group—trying to do the right thing by a group of citizens who, as I indicated to my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve), are some of the most law-abiding in the country.