Dominic Raab has faced calls to apologise to rape victims “denied justice” because of his “failures” as Justice Secretary.
The Deputy Prime Minister sidestepped repeated requests from Labour’s Angela Rayner to say sorry for low charge rates and backlogs, and he instead insisted the Government is “doing everything that we can”.
But Labour deputy leader Ms Rayner insisted: “Not a word of apology, no sense of responsibility and not even a shred of shame.”
The pair clashed at Prime Minister’s Questions as they deputised for Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer due to their attendance at the funeral of former Commons speaker Baroness Betty Boothroyd.
Ms Rayner told the Commons: “Women feel unsafe on Britain’s streets, always looking over our shoulder as we hurry to our front door.
“Can he tell me under his watch as justice secretary, what is the charge rate for rape?”
Mr Raab responded by saying that tackling rape is “one of our top priorities”, telling MPs: “She asks what we are doing about it, since 2019 police referrals of cases have doubled, CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) charges have doubled, she asks on my watch what has happened, the volume of convictions in rape cases has increased by two-thirds.
“If she really wants to protect vulnerable women whether it is from rapists or other serious crimes they will back our parole reforms, which will mean ministers are able to prevent them being released into the public and cause more threats.”
But Ms Rayner countered: “He hasn’t answered my question because he is too ashamed of the answer: 1.6% of rapists faced being charged for their crime – 1.6%. Let that sink in.”
You can watch the exchange below:
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