Published: 19:20, 11 September 2020
| Updated: 19:21, 11 September 2020
A brave boy who captured the hearts of the nation with his charity exploits has been described as "an extraordinary young man" in the House of Commons.
Tom Tugendhat heaped praise on six-year-old double amputee Tony Hudgell, from Kings Hill , when he addressed the chamber at Westminster this afternoon.
Watch: Tom Tugendhat MP speaks about 'Tony's Law'
The Tonbridge and Malling MP spoke to urge the Government to introduce a bill for 'Tony's Law' , which would seek to increase the maximum custodial sentence for child cruelty offences to life in prison.
Tony gained national fame during lockdown when, walking on prosthetic legs, he raised more than £1million for a London children's hospital which saved his life as a baby.
He was left fighting for his life after suffering horrific abuse at the hands of his biological parents, and his injuries were so severe that he lost both legs.
His abusers were each sentenced to 10 years in prison , the maximum sentence available, by Mr Tugendhat's proposed legislation would allow courts to hand down much harsher sentences in the very worst cases.
"Tony’s law, as I shall refer to it throughout this debate, is not intended to help Tony," Mr Tugendhat told the House earlier.
"His biological parents got the maximum sentence available at the time, and - thank God - he has now found the home that we all wish he had had to start with.
"I hope that this law will sit on the statute book and never be used, but it is the very least this House can do to recognise the extraordinary efforts of this inspirational young man.
"Tony’s law aims to send the message that we cannot and will not tolerate severe offences committed against the most vulnerable among us, that although they are not old enough to vote or stand for Parliament, still their life and safety matter as much as that of an adult."
Mr Tugendhat first introduced his Child Cruelty (Sentences) Bill last year, but its progress was halted because of the general election. He now hopes the Government will take up the cause for Tony's Law.
Paula Hudgell, Tony's mother, said: "We are delighted that Tony's Law is being debated again in the House of Commons and hope that this is something which the Government will look to introduce soon.
"There are, sadly, many other children like Tony who have not had the start in life they deserve and Tony's Law will mean that those responsible for their care will be appropriately punished."