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Unduly Lenient Sentences

Volume 620: debated on Thursday 2 February 2017

We committed ourselves in our manifesto to extending the scope of the scheme. As a first step, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced that we would extend it to sentences in the Crown court for terrorism offences, and we are working with her to implement that.

I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend for confirming that our manifesto commitment is still on track, but I should also be grateful if he was a bit more specific about the dates on which we might be able to make some headway, because these reforms are long overdue.

My hon. Friend is right to press the Government for a commitment to action. Work is being done with the Ministry of Justice, and both the Attorney General and I are committed to ironing out the obvious inconsistencies in the system, which cause understandable frustration among victims and their families.

Over the last 12 months, how often has my hon. and learned Friend been asked to review sentences handed down by the courts?

The number of sentences continues to increase. In 2015 we considered 713 requests, but of 80,000 passed in England and Wales in that year, only just over 100 were varied by the scheme. I think that that represents a vote of confidence in our judges and magistrates.