My role as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Attorney General encompasses a lot of different responsibilities including that of assisting both the Attorney and Solicitor General in their Chamber and Bill Committee duties.
Whenever there is a Bill that has relevant sections to the Attorney General’s Office, either the Attorney or Solicitor, depending on the topic is tasked with overseeing and responding to any debates. Recently we have had such a bill in the Serious Crime Bill which has just finished its committee stage and is shortly to begin its report stage.
This means that it has been meticulously debated and gone through by a committee of twenty members of the House of Commons, including ministers from both sides of the House. This exercise is to go through the Bill line by line and debate any confusing wording or objections, clarification can be sought and written into the document before it moves forward to report stage.
The Serious Crime Bill is a wide reaching piece of legislation that aims to do a number of things including protecting the victims of and preventing any further instances of female genital mutilation; introduces a new offence of sexual communication with a child as well as improving our ability to recover criminal assets.
It has been Robert Buckland MP, the Solicitor General who has been attending the Bill Committee for the Serious Crime Bill, and it is my role as PPS to the Attorney to support both law officers. I do this by accompanying the Solicitor to the Bill Committees, to provide information, documentation and a supporting voice. The Bill Committees generally run for anywhere between 3 and 6 weeks, all day on a Tuesday and Thursday, and understandably take up a lot of Parliamentary time.
Our role is to ensure that the provisions that are put in are understood and agreed to by all, which will eventually mean that they become law, and in the case of this specific bill, there are many new proposals or extensions to existing laws which will ensure that we are all further protected in this ever changing digital age