I beg to move,
That leave be given to bring in a Bill to require owners of Public Houses, to have regular electrical safety tests and to make provisions about licensing, insurance and enforcement to ensure that this takes place, and for connected purposes.
Mr Deputy Speaker
This bill is a vital. It will save lives. Had it been on the statute book earlier, the life of a young boy from Romford, Harvey Tyrell, who died in tragic circumstances, would have been saved.
My Bill is designed to ensure that the circumstances of Harvey’s death will not be repeated. Harvey must not die in vain, and I dedicate this Bill in his name.
So, let me tell you something about Harvey.
He was a wonderful seven-year-old boy, who brought joy to all of those around him. Harvey had a passion for singing, dancing and playing sport and had a particular love for football.
Whilst I never had the privilege of meeting Harvey, I know from those who did, that he was a kind and caring young boy that would always look out for people and be there to support his friends and family.
Following his death, I have spent time speaking with his mother, Danielle. She has recounted to me many stories of her and Harvey endlessly laughing at the many jokes that he would tell.
By all accounts he was a lovely young lad, with a wonderful future ahead of him, but his life was cruelly and suddenly taken away.
On the 11th September 2018, Harvey and his Mother went out for a pub lunch, as is such a great and treasured tradition, particularly in the magnificent county of Essex.
But tragically, Harvey did not come home that day. I am ashamed to say, the King Harold Pub, which is located in the Harold Hill area of Romford and actually falls just over the border in the Hornchurch & Upminster constituency, was a death trap.
When Harvey innocently placed his hand on a metal railing, electricity surged through his body.
The horrified patrons of the pub could only watch as Harvey collapsed, before running over to help him. Paramedics were called and Harvey was rushed to hospital, but tragically, was later pronounced dead.
This was a deeply sad day for the Harold Hill and Harold Wood community and for every person in the Borough of Havering.
And I would like to thank the local Councillors for the area, Cllr. Brian Eagling, Cllr. Darren Wise and Cllr. Martin Goode for the enormous support and kindness they have shown to Harvey’s family and who were instrumental in working with me to place this Bill before the House today.
Harvey's death was completely avoidable and we must act now to ensure that such a wicked loss of life in these circumstances, never happens again!
In the months prior to this horrific event, it was reported that the landlord himself had been electrocuted while on the premise.
Instead of resolving this issue, it is said that he had joked with the regular pub-goers about the faulty wiring.
This was a completely unacceptable way to operate a business. The safety of customers should always be at the forefront of an owners mind. Had the owner of the King Harold been conscious of safety, or followed existing legislation, young Harvey would still be with us today.
Inspections in the aftermath of Harvey's Death have revealed the true extent of the danger that customers faced when entering the pub. It was found that there were 12 defects at the pub which posed a risk of injury, including by electric shock, and 32 potentially dangerous defects. It was also found that the faulty lights that had caused the metal pole to become electrified were attached to an unmetered supply from which the pub owner had been stealing electricity. During the trial of the owner of the King Harold, an expert described the pub as “the most dangerous thing that he had seen in 40 years" and that he was "horrified the owner was able to ignore health and safety regulations, dodge his duty to seek planning permission for building projects and didn't care about the dangers in the pub".
I am glad that the owner of the King Harold and his brother-in-law, who was responsible for the electrics in the pub, were both jailed for their involvement in this awful incident. However, these sentences could not bring Harvey back, to his mother, family and friends. And there is no safeguard in place to stop this kind of incident from happening again.
As it currently stands, the regulation regarding electrical safety in pubs is not fit for purpose. It is covered by the Electricity at Work Regulations – Regulation 4.
This regulation requires businesses to ensure that electrical installations are constructed and maintained in a way that prevents danger. This includes having the installations regularly tested and keeping a record of this. However, at the moment, it is down to the duty holder within the business to provide the relevant checks. There are no organisations, whether government or private, monitoring whether pubs have complied with this standard.
Customers must be able to enter a pub with the confidence they are not at any risk of injury, surely a basic requirement that any business should adhere to.
In light of the catastrophic events surrounding young Harvey's death, I believe that we must urgently strengthen the enforcement of the electrical safety standards.
This is why with Harvey Tyrells Law - Public Houses (Electrical Safety) Bill, I am proposing comprehensive measures to ensure that customers can enter pubs with the confidence they will be safe from injury.
My Bill would require Pub owners to get the electrical systems in their pubs checked a minimum of every 5 years, to bring pubs in line with the regulations on electrical safety checks in rental properties.
The measures in this bill will also require the safety test to be conducted by a qualified person such as a registered electrician, thus creating confidence for the pub owner and the customers that the checks have been followed correctly and that electrical systems are safe.
An electrical safety certification should also be linked to the pub’s alcohol licence and the local authority would have to do no more than check that the pub owner has submitted the documentation proving that their premises have been tested for electrical safety, before approving an alcohol licence.
I know many hardworking pub owners would welcome these proposals, which improve everyone’s safety, including their own.
I am a huge supporter of the great English Pub and want them to remain at the heart of our community, so I am not seeking to create unnecessary red tape, but we must ensure that Pubs are places where people can enjoy in safety.
I believe that the measures that I have laid out in this Bill, Harvey Tyrells Law, will successfully achieve this and call upon Her Majesty’s government to act swiftly in this regard.
My Bill will create a firm framework to ensure that the shocking events that surrounded the death of young Harvey are never repeated… it will keep people safe and prevent needless loss of like… and I commend it to the House.