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MPs urged to support Scrap Metal Dealers Bill by the Bishop of London

As the country prepares again to pay its respects at war memorials and in parish churches on Remembrance Sunday, the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, has called on all MPs to support the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill in the House of Commons today (9 November).

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Bishop Richard notes that many memorials and churches will have been targeted by metal thieves.

"The distress and economic cost of such cultural and historical vandalism shows that this is not a victimless crime," says Bishop Richard. "Today MPs will have the opportunity to back new laws to fight this epidemic," he says.

The Church of England concurs with the British Legion, police, rail industry, scrap metal trade, Home Office and Environment Agency that Richard Ottaway's private members bill will make a substantial difference.

In urging all members to support the Bill, Bishop Richard notes that this will "not allow a small number (of MPs) that wish to frustrate its progress by tabling numerous amendments, the opportunity to delay these urgent and necessary reforms."

As a senior member of the House of Lords, Bishop Richard gives an undertaking to play his part in "speeding the Bill's progress through the Upper House and into law as rapidly as possible", if the bill gets Commons approval, "thereby giving the help and hope needed to communities whose local memorials and places of worship continue to be targeted by metal thieves". 

Notes 

Further details of the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill can be accessed from

http://www.churchcare.co.uk/about-us/campaigns/news-items/scrap-metal-dealer-s-bill

http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2012-13/scrapmetaldealers.html

The full text of Bishop Richard's Letter

This weekend we will pay our respects at war memorials and in parish churches across the country, many of which have been targeted by metal thieves.

The distress and economic cost of such cultural and historical vandalism shows that this is not a victimless crime.  

On Friday MPs will have the opportunity to back new laws to fight this epidemic of metal theft.

The Church of England agrees with the British Legion, police, rail industry, scrap metal trade, Home Office and Environment Agency that the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill will make a substantial difference.

I urge all MPs to support this Bill and to not allow a small number that wish to frustrate its progress by tabling numerous amendments, the opportunity to delay these urgent and necessary reforms.

If passed I shall play my part in speeding the Bill's progress through the Upper House and into law as rapidly as possible, thereby giving the help and hope needed to communities whose local memorials and places of worship continue to be targeted by metal thieves.

The Rt Revd & Rt Hon Richard Chartres KCVO DD FSA