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MEN should be banned from streets in the UK after 6pm, according to a Green Party peer.
In the wake of Sarah Everard’s disappearance from a London street, Baroness Jenny Jones told the House of Lords a night-time curfew for men would “make women a lot safer”.
? Follow our live blog for the latest developments on the Sarah Everard case
Police conduct a fingertip search of Poynders Road, London, after Sarah Everard went missing on March 3, 2021Credit: Getty Images – Getty
Will there be a 6pm curfew for men in the UK?
There is no plan for a 6pm curfew for men in the UK, despite Baroness Jenny Jones’s suggestion in the House of Lords.
In Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford said any proposed curfew on men “wouldn’t be on the top of the list” of measures that the Welsh Government would consider as it would just be a “temporary intervention”.
A Government source dismissed the peer’s suggestion as “totally bonkers”. They said it would be a “massive curtailing of basic freedoms and rights” and would never work.
Caroline Nokes, Tory MP and chair of the Women and Equalities Committee told The Sun: “You can’t go around slapping curfews on one gender.
“Any solution to the real fear that women feel is going to have to be a lot more complex than that.
“Its a bonkers suggestion – but it has got us all talking about what practical steps men can take to make women feel safer.”
Baroness Jenny Jones wants men off the street from 6pmCredit: Rex Features
Who has proposed the curfew and why?
Green Party peer Baroness Jones mentioned the curfew during a House of Lords debate over amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill.
She said: “In the week that Sarah Everard was abducted and, we suppose, killed – because remains have been found in a woodland in Kent – I argue that, at the next opportunity for any Bill that is appropriate, I might put in an amendment to create a curfew for men on the streets after 6pm.
“I feel this would make women a lot safer, and discrimination of all kinds would be lessened.”
Her comment came after cops warned women to be careful when walking outside alone after Sarah vanished off the street.
One scared woman, aged in her 30s, told The Sun Online: “I was told to be more careful because I live on my own.
“The police came round yesterday and said to be careful.
“I don’t want to leave the house at the moment. You don’t know what happened. It makes me very worried. I just can’t believe it.”
Sarah Everard is a 33-year-old, originally from York, who lives in LondonCredit: PA:Press Association
But this in turn has prompted criticism over why women should be forced to take evasive action, such as wearing shoes they can run quickly in – when out in public by themselves – to protect themselves from men.
Labour former shadow women and equalities minister Dawn Butler told the Commons earlier this week: “One woman is killed every three days, but ask yourself this – what are we really doing about it?
“It is time for all those with power to stop being bystanders in this pandemic and get involved.”
Conservative former minister Andrea Leadsom said: “Today I feel pretty angry and sad.
“Angry that women walking home in the dark have to be scared of the person walking closely behind them, and saddened because for far too many women even getting home safely doesn’t mean they’re safe from harm.”
Labour’s Rosie Duffield (Canterbury) told the Commons: “Sarah Everard has reignited the fire within us much like George Floyd did – enough is enough.”
Meanwhile, Tory MP and Father of the House Sir Peter Bottomley added: “We all need to change and I hope we can get to the stage where I don’t have to carry a whistle on my keys, and my daughters and granddaughters don’t have to either.”
Mother of the House Harriet Harman, told the Commons: “When the police advise women, don’t go out at night on their own, women ask why do they have to be subjected to an informal curfew?
A police officer carries flowers from members of the public at Great Chart Golf and Leisure near Ashford in Kent following the discovery of human remainsCredit: PA:Press Association
“It is not women who are the problem here, it is men, and the criminal justice system fails women and lets men off the hook.
“Whether it is rape or whether it is domestic homicide, women are judged and blamed.”
The debate over women’s safety in the streets has also ignited on social media, with people flocking to share their terrifying experiences.
Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, tweeted: “Even after all these years if I am out late at night on an isolated street and I hear a man’s footsteps behind me I automatically cross the road.
“It is the habit of a lifetime to try and keep safe. But it should not have to be like this.”
Another woman said: “I’ve spent my life limited by fear of male violence and I’m so proud that young women are demanding more.”
Mayor Sadiq Khan told LBC that the capital’s streets are not safe “for women or for girls”.
He added: “It’s really important that people of my gender understand that if you’re a woman or a girl your experience of our city in any public space, whether it’s in the workplace or on the streets and public transport, is very different to if you’re a man or boy.”
The furore over Sarah’s disappearance and the debate over the safety of women in streets has prompted a ‘Reclaim These Streets‘ vigil for Saturday, March 13.
Clothing that Sarah was wearing on March 3 2021 – the night she disappearedCredit: SWNS:South West News Service
What happened to Sarah Everard?
At about 9pm she left the property in Leathwaite Road through a back gate onto the A205 South Circular and began walking to her home in Brixton.
She is thought to have walked across Clapham Common.
At about 9.30pm, Sarah was spotted on CCTV walking alone on the A205 Poynders Road, from the junction with Cavendish Road, in the direction of Tulse Hill.
Sarah Everard has not been seen since she left a friend’s house in Clapham on March 3, 2021Credit: PA:Press Association
Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida said human remains have been found in a woodland area near Ashford, Kent.
However, detectives have not yet been able to confirm the identity of the remains.
Dame Cressida confirmed officers searching an area near Ashford had “found, very sadly, what appears to be human remains”.
She added: “Sarah’s disappearance in these awful and wicked circumstances is every family’s worst nightmare.
“I know Londoners will want to know that it is thankfully incredibly rare for a woman to be abducted from our streets.
“But I completely understand that despite this, women in London and the wider public – particularly those in the area where Sarah went missing – will be worried and may well be feeling scared.”
Is the vigil for Sarah Everard going ahead?
Legal action has been launched after cops were accused of a U-turn over this weekend’s Reclaim These Streets vigil for missing Sarah Everard.
The vigil is due to take place at 6pm on Saturday, March 13, and was organised after the 33-year-old’s suspected kidnap and murder sparked anger over the safety of women on the UK’s streets.
It is scheduled to begin at the bandstand in Clapham Common, South London – the area where Sarah was last seen as she walked towards her Brixton home on Wednesday, March 3.
But, the event has been put in jeopardy after an apparent change of heart from the police.
The vigil is planned for Saturday March 13 – depending on the result of a legal challengeCredit: Facebook
Vigil organisers are today, Friday March 12, seeking urgent legal action to allow Saturday’s event to go ahead.
The force has been accused of suddenly “reversing its position and stating the vigil would be unlawful”, while threatening organisers with “tens of thousands of pounds in fines and criminal prosecution under the Serious Crimes Act”.
But human rights lawyers advised the organisers “the Met Police are wrong in their interpretation of the law and that socially distant outdoor gatherings of this kind are allowed under the current lockdown regulations, when read together with the Human Rights Act,” vigil organisers add.
After successfully raising more than £30,000 to cover legal fees, organisers have gone ahead with a legal challenge to that stance.
“Should the judge decide in our favour, our Clapham vigil will be allowed to go ahead,” say organisers.
It’s not clear when the judge will determine the challenge, but the group is updating people via its Reclaim The Streets – @ReclaimTS – Twitter account.