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    Both Criminal Justice Bill, Tobacco and Vapes Bill in limbo after election announcement

    (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

    The fate of both Criminal Justice Bill and Tobacco and Vapes Bill has become uncertain as parliament is set to be dissolved next week after Rishi Sunak called the General Election for July 4.

    After today’s election date announcement, Parliament will initiate the process of “wash-up” – when the government aims to progress legislation yet to clear all stages and receive Royal Assent. However, this period is only expected to last a few days until dissolution on May 30.

    Ministers usually require the cooperation of the Opposition to secure approval and some Bills may be shortened to ensure they are approved in some form. But all parliamentary business not finished by the time Parliament is dissolved will fall, including Bills that are yet to receive Royal Assent.

    Two of the key bills that are expected to directly address and impact convenience stores are now in question- Criminal Justice Bill and Tobacco and Vapes Bill.

    The Tobacco and Vapes Bill received a second reading in the Commons last month but made no further progress. Chances are high that it stands to fall once the House prorogues ahead of dissolution. The legislation would have made it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born after January 1, 2009, with the aim of creating a ‘smoke-free’ generation.

    The bill also covers restriction on display and sale of vapes. Health leaders meanwhile have called for the Bill to be prioritised.

    Criminal Justice Bill addresses and promises to make assault on retail worker a standalone offence. Progression of this bill is also expected to be tricky as it has many other amendments which still requires some debating time. However, whatever party comes in power, it is expected to revisit the bill.

    Chris Noice, Director of Communications at Association of Convenience Stores, wrote on social media, “From what we understand, neither the Criminal Justice Bill nor the Tobacco and Vapes Bill are going to get through parliament before it is dissolved next week.

    “The General Election has been called, but the status of key legislation like the Criminal Justice Bill (featuring the separate offence for assaulting a shopworker) and the Tobacco and Vapes Bill is still uncertain, as both will be subject to the ‘wash-up’ period before Parliament is dissolved on May 30th.”

    Another major bill to face hindrance is Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill.

    The Bill is set to quash convictions of theft, fraud, false accounting and other offences for subpostmasters who have suffered as a consequence of the Post Office Horizon scandal, and relevant cautions will be deleted from records.

    The Bill will apply to all those convicted of such offences in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who were prosecuted by the Post Office, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) or Northern Ireland authorities in the years 1996 to 2018. Those whose convictions are quashed will then be eligible to receive compensation payments from the Horizon Convictions Redress Scheme, which will be set up after the legislation is passed.

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