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Drug dealers selling to under-16s should face harsher sentences, ministers have been told.
Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake told the Commons it should be a specific offence to supply drugs to children, saying a change in the law is needed to “keep young people safe”.
The Thirsk and Malton MP called for reform after 15-year-old Leah Heyes died in 2019.
She collapsed after taking MDMA in a car park in Northallerton, North Yorkshire.
For their role in her death, two older teenagers were sentenced in November 2020 for supplying class A drugs.
But Mr Hollinrake claimed the sentences they served were “paltry”, telling the Commons: “The unimaginable was exacerbated by the fact that the young adults who sold Leah the drugs received custodial sentences of 21 and 12 months respectively.
“The two ended up serving a paltry six months each.”
The MP said: “The Supply of Drugs to Children Under 16 (Aggravated Offence) Bill, or Leah’s Law, intends to change the law to make clear that any person under the age of 16 cannot consent to taking illegal substances.
“And by asking our judges to impose tougher sentences on those who supply drugs to our children, this will have a dual affect of keeping young people safe but also acting as a deterrent to those who callously target children.”
He later said: “It cannot be right that a child’s agency is classed as the same as an adult when it comes to something so damaging as drugs.”
Mr Hollinrake paid tribute to Leah’s mother, Kerry Roberts, saying she has “championed tirelessly the case for Leah’s Law”.
The Tory MP said he is disappointed by the Government’s response to a public petition calling for a change in the law, and called for ministers to “think again” and support his Bill.
The Bill is due to be considered again on Friday October 28 but is unlikely to become law without support from the Government.
The petition got 10,276 signatures before closing in April.
A Home Office response said: “Protecting children from harm is a priority for Government. However, as existing offences already apply for drug supply, we have no plans to make it a specific offence to supply a child with drugs.”