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Lib Dems accused of backing "light sentences for killer drivers" after party refuses to support call for tougher sentences

By jrmaidment  |  Posted: May 29, 2014

Comments (5)

Liberal Democrats have been accused of backing “light sentences for killer drivers” after all but one of the party’s county councillors refused to support a call for tougher punishments.

A Ukip motion urging Gloucestershire’s MPs to back the Crackdown campaign set up by the road safety charity Brake seeking harsher penalties for drivers who kill or injure people was agreed by the county council this week.

But almost all of the Lib Dems, and a single Green councillor, opted to abstain on the vote.

All Conservative, Labour and Ukip councillors backed the motion.

Mark Hawthorne, the Conservative leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “I am bitterly disappointed that we couldn’t send a united message to the dangerous drivers on Gloucestershire’s roads.

“I don’t know what the Liberal Democrats are playing at.”

Councillor Lynden Stowe (C, Campden Vale) added: “The Liberal Democrats are always keen to talk up their role on road safety – but when it comes down to it, they back light sentences for killer drivers.”

Labour Councillor Barry Kirby (Grange and Kingsway) echoed a similar sentiment.

He said: “I am disappointed that Liberal Democrats on the council county failed to support the motion calling for tougher sentence for drivers that kill or injure.

“Every road death is a personal tragedy.

“People who drive under the influence of drink or drugs or drive without a licence or insurance who then go onto kill should face the full force of the law.”

But Councillor Chris Coleman (LD, St Mark’s and St Peter’s), a practising solicitor, branded the idea that his party is “soft on crime” as “absolutely ridiculous”.

He said: “The courts have the powers as it exists at the moment to give out tough sentences to people that commit this sort of crime and cause these disasters for victims’ families and friends.

“To suggest that the law isn’t working and at the same time not come up with any meaningful alternatives really is playing politics.”

Speaking at Wednesday’s meeting when the motion was agreed, Councillor Richard Leppington (Ukip, Blakeney and Bream) who proposed the move, said: “Sentences for drivers who kill or seriously injure need to reflect the suffering of the victims’ families.

“These people feel completely let down by the system.

“We have to send out a clear message.”

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  • MrGarnet  |  May 29 2014, 10:08PM

    Libs and greens waste of space. Dreamers and leading the hard of thinking down the drain.Along with the labCON's Terrible for the UK. Glad we now have a choice! With a new party growing by the day.

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  • UKIP4Chelt  |  May 29 2014, 9:49PM

    Vote Lib Dem, get politically correct platitudes and pictures of councillors or MPs strategically placed by key land marks like the A&E before giving it away. It's a shame they don't actually do something useful. They probably objected to this because it was a UKIP proposal. They play politics and never actually do much that is useful. Shame on you Lib Dems - you have let us down again. I can't wait until the people of Cheltenham reject like so many others in the country have in the past couple of weeks.

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  • toadhall99  |  May 29 2014, 1:34PM

    If this is true I expect them to do the honorable thing and QUIT their positions forthwith.

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  • Grahambarker  |  May 29 2014, 12:57PM

    agreed - all these meetings and debates wthout decision makers invovledare a waste of time we have themn at work frequently and sometimes the decison makers then go and do their own thing or something else! any party can sit around and winge abouthe opthere s- they do theat all the tie ad how many times have we heard 'somethign must be done' or this doesnt go far enough' bpored with all the rhetoric until clear meanginful laws are in place (by whichever party) we can all understand - even the drinking drivers

  • Justica  |  May 29 2014, 12:44PM

    This exactly why Liberal Democrats got the result nationwide they did. I actually think Nick Clegg as a person is (unusually for an MP) an honourable man BUT he is so weak as to be ineffective. He appeases immigrants, criminals and the lazy at the expense of the hard working British. This has been his downfall because they are backbone of the country and have now rebelled via the ballot box.

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