HYNDBURN MP Greg Pope has called for a change in the law after a driver with a string of motoring convictions was given a jail sentence of only four months following a road accident in which a young girl died.
Mr Pope met the devastated family of Amy Houston at his constituency offices in Blackburn Road, Accrington, and has now vowed to take their concerns to the very top.
He said: "We cannot change the law overnight but it has failed this family."
Blackburn magistrates heard that 25-year-old failed asylum seeker Aso Mohammed Ibrahim, a banned driver who should not have been on the road, fled the scene of the accident in Newfield Drive, Blackburn, leaving Amy trapped under his black Rover.
Amy, 12, who lived with her mum Joanne Cocker, was freed by fire crews but despite desperate attempts to save her she died later in hospital.
As Ibrahim did not admit dangerous driving and there was no evidence to support such a charge, he was prosecuted for lesser offences. He pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified and without insurance and failing to stop after an accident.
Despite being disqualified twice and already being on bail for offences of driving while banned, the maximum sentence available to magistrates was six months, which they reduced to four because of his early guilty plea.
As revealed exclusively in the Observer, dramatic scenes unfolded in the courtroom following the sentence, as Amy's furious dad Paul Houston, of Russia Street, Accrington, had to be restrained by police.
Mr Pope is now calling for much tougher penalties against anyone caught driving while disqualified to prevent further suffering to other families.
He said: "It is an appalling tragedy for them. For somebody to get four months is absolutely unsatisfactory. My heart goes out to her family.
"It's a terrible tragedy for them as they didn't get justice. I will write to the Home Secretary David Blunkett to say this law is unsatisfactory. What we should be concerned with is a change in the law when the Bill is brought before the house."
The sentence also sparked outrage among some of our readers who have pointed the finger at the Government for not getting to grips with the problem of asylum seekers.
But Mr Pope said: "It is completely irrelevant that this man was an asylum seeker. It is like saying he was black, it is an irrelevant fact.
"We are dealing with asylum as a separate issue. The issue is that the law is inadequate to deal with this kind of offence."