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Violent Crime

Volume 264: debated on Thursday 19 October 1995

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18.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he intends to take to tackle violent crime. [36523]

19.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what further action he intends to take to tackle violent crime. [36524]

My right hon. and learned Friend announced last week our proposals for ensuring that the sentence served in prison should be the sentence passed by the court and that there should be a new mandatory life sentence for repetition of serious offences of sex or violence.

If the Home Secretary truly believes in the need to abolish automatic remission, why did he and all his colleagues vote for the introduction of that system during consideration of what became the Criminal Justice Act 1991? Is he unable to make up his mind or is this another example of the Conservative party lurching to the right to appease reactionary representatives at the Tory party conference?

If the hon. Gentleman had bothered to study the 1991 Act and what had gone before, he would have found that that legislation led to a tightening of the rules. It is clear that he and his party have not thought through the sentencing policies that the people want. Perhaps that is why we are seeing a sideshow this afternoon.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is an affront to the public when violent criminals then profit from their crime by selling their story to film makers and publishers? Will he look again at my proposed amendment to criminal justice legislation to make it illegal for anyone to pay a criminal for his story?

Of course it is reprehensible for people to profit from those activities, but, as I have said to my hon. Friend, rather than create a new offence or invoke criminal law, I would much prefer to see responsibility by those who are exercising the cheque book, in whatever media outlets they may be in, so that they do not pay criminals for the details of their sordid crimes.