Care minister Helen Whately left Susanna Reid stunned on Good Morning Britain today during a segment on the new policing bill.
Presenter Susanna asked: “You have just said the average sentence for rape is nine years and we are talking about the maximum sentence for damaging a memorial is greater than the average sentence for rape.
“Under this new Bill. That feels very uncomfortable – and wrong, frankly.”
Ms Whately responded: “Crimes of all type should be taken seriously and I think appropriate penalties should be put in place.
“But that is just one measure in this Bill is to increase the maximum sentence for damage to memorials. The whole set of measures in this Bill is aimed at making the country safer.
“Including stopping the early release of violent offenders – particularly of sexual offences and including sexual offenders, in fact.”
Kill the Bill protest
Her comments come as violent scenes which marred a “Kill the Bill” protest in Bristol that saw a police station attacked, officers injured and vehicles set alight have been widely condemned.
Home Secretary Priti Patel branded the scenes “unacceptable” and said “thuggery and disorder” would never be tolerated.
Bristol mayor Marvin Rees, who said he had “major concerns” about the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, condemned the thuggery but said the disorder would be used to justify the legislation.
Mass gatherings are currently banned under coronavirus legislation and anyone breaching the regulations could be fined.
Many who attended the protest on College Green were wearing face masks and carried placards, saying: “Say no to UK police state” and “Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy” and “Kill the Bill”.
What started as a non-violent demonstration on Sunday afternoon turned violent after hundreds of protesters descended on the New Bridewell police station.
Whately tried to defend the new policing bill measures, but did little to appease a clearly frustrated Susanna Reid.
She also didn’t appear to have a Union Jack behind her, which might land her in trouble with her party whips later.
‘You just said the average sentence for rape is 9 years and we’re talking about the maximum sentence for damage to a memorial being greater under this new bill.’ @susannareid100 challenges Care Minister Helen Whately that feels ‘uncomfortable and wrong’. pic.twitter.com/PnlIxpdeey— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) March 22, 2021
Many on social media were also stunned at her comments.
Helen Whately minister of care decided in June 2020 to go on the Kay burley show & blame the scientists for the care home crisis— kerry Hooper ? (@hewitson10) March 22, 2021
She is a liability #BBCBreakfast #ToryHypocrisy #toryfail pic.twitter.com/RCkn7JKQfK
Helen Whately is essentialy the estate agent in the purple bricks advert isnt she?#GMB— T. H Ⓥ (@NSFtwerk) March 22, 2021
Head Girl Helen Whately tell us that we require new laws on the Right to Protest…as the current law doesn’t provide a 10year sentence for damaging a Slave Traders Statue.— BudapestSquibber (@AlbertDeclan) March 22, 2021
For F*CKS SAKE.
Helen Whately truly is the idiot’s idiot’s idiot’s idiot— dave ❄️ ? ? (@davemacladd) March 22, 2021