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Senior politicians back region’s MP in his TV licence campaign

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 07, 2014

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MORE than 100 politicians have jumped on board with a campaign launched by an MP in the region seeking to no longer make non-payment of TV licences a criminal offence.

Senior politicians including former Conservative leadership candidate David Davis and ex-Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ming Campbell have backed the motion tabled by North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen.

He has decided to take a stand against an issue he feels is unfair on people who struggle to make ends meet and said he was confident he could get more MPs on board.

In the wake of the motion, political commentators have questioned whether the end could be near for the TV licence altogether.

Non-payment of TV licences made up for around one in 10 of all UK court cases in 2012, with people who fail to comply facing fines of up to £1,000.

Conservative MP Mr Bridgen said thousands of people had been prosecuted for ‘merely being poor’ though the BBC has argued that there needs to be an effective deterrent in place to ensure viewers pay up.

He told the House of Commons earlier this week: “We should end the ludicrous situation whereby those who genuinely cannot pay are criminalised merely for being poor.

“I see no reason why the BBC should be treated as a special case when it comes to non-payment. The law is threatening those struggling to pay with a criminal prosecution and a criminal record.”

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