Closed petition Repeal The Vagrancy Act 1824

The Vagrancy Act 1824 makes it an offence to sleep rough or beg. This is an archaic law. It criminalises the very existence of those who are amongst society’s most vulnerable citizens; those who are homeless and forced to take to the streets and beg for survival. It must be repealed.

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The system should not punish people who have fallen on hard times; the government should support such individuals to ensure that they can once again, become functioning members of society. The Act actually makes things even more difficult for those sleeping rough or begging for money; imprisonment automatically rules out a number of future jobs. This merely exacerbates their plight, continuing an ever-downward spiral.

The current COVID-19 pandemic is only likely to exacerbate the situation.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Other parliamentary business

Recent Parliamentary debates on homelessness, evictions, and the Vagrancy Act

Over the last two weeks, there have been two debates in Parliament which relate to the issues raised by this petition.

Find links to watch each debate, read the transcripts and access other relevant material on the following webpages:

Nickie Aiken MP’s Westminster Hall debate: Repealing and replacing the Vagrancy Act 1824:

Lord Bird’s Question for short debate: Evictions resulting from covid-19-induced poverty:

What are Westminster Hall debates?

Westminster Hall is the second Chamber of the House of Commons. Westminster Hall debates give MPs an opportunity to raise local or national issues and receive a response from a government minister. Any MP can take part in a Westminster Hall debate.

What is a Question for short debate?

Four short debates ('Questions for Short Debate') take place on Thursday every five weeks in Grand Committee of the House of Lords, away from the main Chamber. These debates are an opportunity for members of the House of Lords to discuss important current issues and draw the Government’s attention to concerns. A Government minister or spokesperson responds at the end to the issues raised in the debate.

Please note that these debates are separate from any work the Petitions Committee may do on this petition. For more information on how petitions work, see