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Prison overcrowding

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Simon Lightwood, Labour Member of Parliament for Wakefield, has today criticised the Conservative Government’s record on crime and justice.

Mr Lightwood was speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions where he pressed the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, on the Conservatives’ abysmal record on crime.

This follows criticism from Alison Lowe OBE, Deputy Mayor for West Yorkshire, who has revealed the extent of the crisis in prisons in West Yorkshire. The Government is having to pay West Yorkshire Police tens of thousands of pounds to keep criminals in police stations due to overcrowding in prisons.

Two thirds of prisons in England are currently overcrowded, including HMP New Hall in Mr Lightwood’s Wakefield constituency.

The Wakefield MP also blasted the government for their lack of action amid rising crime. He referenced how serious violence is up 60% and knife crime up 70% along with a backlog already of nearly 65,000 cases waiting to be heard in court.

Since his election in June 2022, Mr Lightwood has spearheaded a campaign tackling crime and antisocial behaviour across his constituency including meeting with businesses affected by break-ins in Wakefield city centre as well as pressing for action on anti-social behaviour effecting Ossett Bus Station. In October, he also joined officers from West Yorkshire Police on a walkabout in Eastmoor and the city centre to see and hear the challenges officers face on a typical evening patrol.

Simon Lightwood MP said,

“Crime and anti-social behaviour is always near the top of issues people bring up with me when I am out campaigning or in their emails and letters to my office.

“Successive Conservative Governments have presided over a systematic gutting of our police and criminal justice system which has left significant numbers of crimes being left unsolved, interminable waiting times for cases to be heard in court and two-thirds of prisons overcrowded.

“Victims and the public have lost confidence in the system. They see less police in their community tackling crime and lost confidence that crimes they report will be solved.

“The Prime Minister’s answer to my question today, does nothing to improve victims’ outlook and shows he has no idea about the concerns facing the people of Wakefield.”


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