Watch: Keir Starmer reads out shocking list of rapists sentenced for less than 10 years
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has read out a shocking list of rapists sentenced for less than 10 years as he called for greater protection for women and girls in the wake of the Sarah Everard case.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Starmer said MPs need to “face up” to sentences for rape and sexual violence – “because they need to be toughened”.
He highlighted the sentences given to:
John Patrick, sentenced to seven years after being convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl
Ferdinando Orlando and Lorenzo Costanzo, sentenced to seven-and-a-half years after being convicted of raping a women in a nightclub
James Reeve, sentenced to nine years after being convicted of raping a seven-year-old girl
According to the Sentencing Council, the maximum current sentence for rape is 19 years.
“We need urgently to look at this, and tougher sentences for rape and serious sexual violence,” Starmer said.
Boris Johnson, responding, referred to the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
This passed the Commons at its second reading – the second of 11 stages proposed legislation must go through before it can become law – on Tuesday night.
The bill plans to bring in longer jail terms for serious violent and sexual offenders, but Labour voted against it after saying it “fails” to take sufficient action to protect women.
Johnson said: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a bill going through the House of Commons which would do exactly that? Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if there were measures to defend women and girls from violent and sex criminals?”
Shouts of “it’s not in the bill” and “read your own bill” could be heard from Labour MPs.
Johnson went on: “As it happens, there is such a bill before the House. I think it’d be a great thing if [Starmer] actually had voted for it. He still has time, the bill is still before the House, he can lift his opposition.”
The PM described Labour’s opposition to the bill as “crazy”, but Starmer countered: “Nothing in that bill would have increased the length of sentence in any of those rape cases.”
Watch: Johnson ‘happy to look at new proposals’ on sexual violence