THE Justice Secretary has given a “crystal clear” commitment in the House of Commons to deliver a change in the dangerous driving laws.

In a parliamentary debate, Robert Buckland said it was his aim to push for the reform of the sentencing guidelines this year.

However, the St Helens South and Whiston MP Marie Rimmer has urged the Government to stop delaying and urgently deliver Violet-Grace’s Law, which is supported by tens of thousands of people across the country.

St Helens Star:


Speaking in the debate, in response to former Prime Minister Theresa May who questioned why plans for new legislation had not been included in the latest Queen’s Speech, Mr Buckland said: “I have met in this place families of victims of this appalling crime and worked with members across the House on the issue.

“I want to get on with it. The commitment remains absolutely crystal clear.

“I very much hope that we can have a vehicle to do that. I am going to be doing a sentencing Bill this year; that could be one vehicle.

St Helens Star:

The Youens family in happier times

“I want to get on with this as soon as possible.

“We will have the time and the support of the Government to change the law.”

The campaign for the law change has been led by the family of Violet-Grace Youens and backed by the St Helens Star.

Violet died after being struck on Prescot Road by a car travelling at 83mph, on Friday, March 24, 2017.

Aidan McAteer, the man behind the wheel of the car that killed four-year-old Violet-Grace, was given a jail term of more than nine years but her parents say the sentence was not long enough.

The current sentencing guidelines for someone convicted of causing death by dangerous driving state the maximum jail term is 14 years.

St Helens Star:

Aidan McAteer and Dean Brennan

The campaign calls for life sentences for dangerous drivers who kill, with a minimum sentence of 15 years.

The Brexit process and the General Election have been blamed for the delays, but victims’ families have grown increasingly frustrated after the Ministry of Justice pledged in the autumn of 2017 to introduce tougher sentences.

Ms Rimmer is calling for the Government to show urgency with their plans for law change to give “dangerous drivers a punishment that fits the crime.”

St Helens Star:

Glenn and Becky Youens outside Parliament following the debate

Marie said: “We have now had the second Queen’s Speech in as many months, and neither has mentioned introducing tougher laws for dangerous drivers.

“This is despite the Tories promising to do so almost three years ago. This constant delay is a betrayal of trust and lets down the families of victims of dangerous driving. I wrote to the Justice Secretary over two weeks ago about this and I am yet to receive a response.

“Violet-Grace Youens’ family deserve better. They deserve proper justice. They deserve dangerous drivers getting a punishment that fits the crime.”

St Helens Star:

Joe Keane and his dad Terry

Last month the Star also told the story of Joe Keane, from Billinge, who was killed by a drunk and reckless driver in north Yorkshire on his 28th birthday.

The driver Adam Kershaw, also 29, was also sentenced to just nine years in prison.

Speaking to the Star a fortnight ago, his dad Terry called on parliament to consider introducing life sentences for dangerous drivers who cause death.

Mr Buckland was also present at a parliamentary debate on dangerous driving laws last summer.

The debate had been called after an e-petition for Violet’s Law amassed more than 160,000 names.