Judith has criticised the Government for missing its statutory deadline to publish an important report into spiking, arguing that a failure to take spiking seriously is putting vulnerable people at risk.
A law passed last year required that the government deliver a report on spiking to Parliament by April 2023. However, this vital report has still not been released, leading non-profits such as the Good Law Project and Gemini Project to consider legal action against the government.
Speaking in Parliament, Judith attacked the Government for failing on its legal duty:
‘The deadline has long been passed and the Government is now facing threats of legal action to meet its statutory duty. The longer this government dithers and delays, the more vulnerable people are put at risk. Can the Leader of the House confirm a precise date when she expects this report will be laid before Parliament?’
Evidence seen by the Home Affairs Select Committee shows that spiking is commonplace, with a shocking 15% of women and 7% of men saying they have had drugs or alcohol put in their drinks without their knowledge or consent.
The government’s failure to publish the report into spiking falls against the backdrop of their decision not to make spiking a specific criminal offence. When Judith challenged the government’s record on spiking earlier this year, then-Justice Secretary Dominic Raab downplayed gaps in the law that mean there are only a handful of spiking-related convictions annually.
Whilst the Government continues to downplay the need for a specific law on spiking, their failure to publish a report has left the public in the dark about how widespread the spiking epidemic actually is.
Responding to Judith’s question, the Leader of the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt MP, said:
‘I will make sure the Home Secretary has heard her concerns and contacts the honourable lady’s office with an update.’
Alison Lowe OBE, Deputy Mayor for Police and Crime welcomed the work to hold government to account on the issue saying:
“Spiking was raised as a major issue by women and girls with West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin and me in the winter of 2021. We have worked hard to clarify the law around spiking and have met with Judith Cummins MP on several occasions to take forward her recommendations for improvements, and to support her wider campaigning on the safety of young people at festivals.
We thank Judith for her commitment to this agenda and hope the government will act to protect the public."
Speaking afterwards, Judith added:
‘This Government’s inaction makes it clear that they have no intention to tackle spiking. This long overdue report, which has still failed to materialise, must be published as soon as possible so that the scale of this issue is fully understood.’
‘It is not right that government delays continue to put the safety of people, especially women and girls, at risk.’