Mental health campaigners celebrate as Seni’s Law passes through the Commons
Mental health campaigners are celebrating after Seni’s Law cleared its final hurdle in the House of Commons.
The law, introduced by Steve Reed MP, will curb the use of violent and abusive restraint against mental health patients. Steve put forward the new law after Seni Lewis, 21, from Thornton Heath was killed in a mental health hospital after being pinned down on the floor with his hands cuffed behind his head and his legs in shackles.
It’s extremely unusual for a private members’ bill to become law, but Steve’s bill – formally known as the ‘Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act’ – is now well on its way to becoming an Act of Parliament after winning cross-party support in the House of Commons. The bill now moves to the House of Lords for its final stages.
Steve was applauded by MPs after the Commons approved the bill. He said:
We are on the brink of giving people with mental ill health in this country some of the best protection in the world. This will be a lasting legacy for Seni Lewis and his family. I’d like to thank everyone who’s helped us get this far.
Steven Reed is Labour MP for Croydon North and Shadow Minister for Children and Families. In 2018 his private member’s bill on reducing violent mental health restraint became law. In June 2019 he launched Labour’s civil society strategy outlining radical plans to empower citizens and communities.
Steve chairs the Cooperative Councils Innovation Network, co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for London, was Leader of Lambeth Council 2006-12 where he led the council’s children’s services to become best-rated in the country and pioneered the public-health approach to tackling violent youth crime. He worked in publishing for 16 years and was an elected trade union branch secretary.