MPs will debate Yorkshire mother's bid for new drugs law after daughter's death

An MP who has been inspired by a grieving Yorkshire mother’s campaign is aiming to introduce a new drugs law.

Kerry Roberts with her daughter Leah
Kerry Roberts with her daughter Leah

Kerry Roberts has been urging the Government to introduce ‘Leah’s Law’, which makes selling drugs to children under 16 a specific criminal offence that carries longer prison sentences.

It comes after her 15-year-old daughter Leah Hayes suffered a cardiac arrest when she took MDMA with friends in a Northallerton car park in 2019. The teenagers who supplied the Class A drug – Connor Kirkwood and Mitchell Southern – were ordered to serve 21 months and 12 months respectively in young offenders institutions.

After several meetings with Ms Robert’s, Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirks and Malton, will attempt to introduce Leah’s Law, under the Ten Minute Rule, on July 19 and urge MPs to support it.

If the Tory MP is successful, a bill will be drafted and taken to its first reading.

Ms Roberts said: “I'm really excited. Kevin seems to really want this and he’s been telling me about some of the conversations he’s been having with other Ministers.

“I think this is just the start of something.”

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She believes Leah’s Law will help protect children from illicit drugs and deter the dealers who target them.

“There just doesn’t seem to be a deterrent for dealing,” she said. “Hopefully this will stop other young people from thinking this is a good idea.”

Earlier this year, Ms Roberts launched a petition for Leah’s Law, which gained more than 10,000 signatures, but the Government responded to say it has “no plans to make it a specific offence to supply a child with drugs”.

In its written response, the Government said selling a banned substance to anyone is already an offence under Section 4 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the law “does not differentiate between different classes of person based on age or any other characteristic”.