My private member’s bill would end the archaic and shameful Vagrancy Act. It has no place in a compassionate society

Our society has developed at an incredible pace since George IV was on the throne. Yet every year, thousands of people are still being prosecuted under a law that he oversaw, the Vagrancy Act, which gives police the power to arrest and detain those who beg and sleep on the streets.

Across our towns and cities, homelessness is on the rise, as are crimes against homeless people. For far too many, the housing crisis has become a human crisis, with people being criminalised who should instead be protected as our most vulnerable citizens.

Related: Tory councillor calls for homeless people's tents to be torn down

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