Conservative Party conference: Tackling violence against women ‘my priority’, says Priti Patel – but she’s told to do more than ‘sticking plaster’ | Politics News


Home Secretary Priti Patel has vowed that tackling violence against women and girls is “my priority” as she announced a further £25m will be allocated to local projects aimed at making public spaces safer.

Just days after Met Police officer Wayne Couzens was jailed for life for raping and murdering marketing executive Sarah Everard, Ms Patel has promised action in areas “where women and girls say they feel most unsafe”.

The allocation of a further £25m to local projects across England and Wales – through the government’s safer streets fund – will go to plans to increase the safety of public spaces, or projects that will focus on changing the behaviour of perpetrators.

Sarah Everard, 33, was murdered by former police officer Wayne Couzens

The latest investment will largely focus on making spaces safer for women and girls. 

Ahead of the Conservative Party conference beginning on Sunday, Ms Patel said: “We have made good progress in tackling violence against women and girls, but these crimes are still all too prevalent in our society.

“The tragic cases of Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa, Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman touched us all.

“As we build back safer from the pandemic, tackling violence against women and girls is my priority.”

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How can women’s safety be improved?

But Jess Phillips, Labour’s shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, challenged the home secretary to offer more than a “sticking plaster” in tackling violence against women and girls when she addresses the Tory conference on Tuesday.

She posted on Twitter: “If Priti Patel takes to stage at conference & says anything less than offering to categorise violence against women & girls as serious violence & agrees to undertake every one of Her Majesty’s Inspectorates recommendations then she will be offering nothing but a sticking plaster.”

The Conservative conference comes little more than two weeks after Prime Minister Boris Johnson reshuffled his government ministers.

And two of those promoted during the recent cabinet shake-up, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries and Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, are this weekend setting out new funding for school sport and tennis courts across the country.

Ms Dorries has committed £22m of new funding – alongside a £8.5m commitment by the Lawn Tennis Association – to revive more than 4,500 park courts at more than 1,500 venues owned by local authorities.

“The whole country watched in awe as Emma Raducanu succeeded in winning the US open,” she said.

“I want more people to follow in Emma’s footsteps and find success on the court, whether that’s winning an international tournament or just picking up a racket to keep fit.”

Police officers and security staff patrol outside of the Manchester Central Convention Complex at the annual Conservative party conference in Manchester, Britain, October 2, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melville
The Conservative Party conference begins in Manchester on Sunday

At the same time, Mr Zahawi has announced the government will invest an additional £30m a year to help schools build new sport facilities, upgrade existing facilities, and improve community access to facilities.

“This funding shows that we are serious about improving access to quality sports facilities to keep kids active,” he said.

“We know the next Harry Kane, Emma Raducanu or Mo Farah is out there, but they need the right facilities and support to display their talent.”

Sunday’s opening day of the Tory conference will also see Welsh Secretary Simon Hart speak from the main stage, during which he will attack nationalist parties for focussing on “constitutional minutiae”.

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He said: “Whether it’s supporting upgrades on the Cambrian Line, recruiting hundreds of new police officers or investing in green renewable projects in North Wales, the UK government is committed to giving the Welsh economy a shot in the arm and creating the jobs that people need.

“Now, more than ever, we need to be working together across the United Kingdom to ensure that we bounce back stronger from the pandemic, but the devolved administrations seem to be more focused on conversations about power and constitutional minutiae.

“In the meantime, the UK government will continue to get on with the day job and deliver on the people’s priorities.”

Source : skynews

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