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Domestic Homicide: Sentencing

Volume 730: debated on Tuesday 28 March 2023

15. What plans his Department has to consult on the options for reform in its response to the domestic homicide sentencing review. (904361)

I am very grateful to Clare Wade KC for her work on this review, and I would also like to pay tribute to Carole Gould and Julie Devey for their tireless campaigning following the tragic murders of their daughters Ellie Gould and Poppy Devey Waterhouse, in whose names they campaign.

As my hon. Friend will be aware, the Deputy Prime Minister published the domestic homicide sentencing review on 17 March. We will launch a public consultation on increasing the starting point to 25 years for murders preceded by controlling or coercive behaviour. We have also announced other key measures to help ensure that sentencing better reflects the seriousness of these horrific crimes, so that this important legislation can be introduced as swiftly as possible.

My constituent Carole Gould broadly welcomes the 17 proposals in the Wade report. Indeed, she welcomes the fact that we have had the Wade report at all. However, we bitterly regret the fact that only two years have been added for overkill, coercive behaviour and strangulation. It should be much higher than that: it should be 25 years minimum. We are also very disappointed that, of the 17 proposals Ms Wade brought forward, only three have so far been taken up by the Government. When will the Minister bring forward a consultation on the remaining 14, and how many of the remaining 14, which Ms Wade believes should form one package, will be accepted by the Government?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I am very much aware of the calls of Julie and Carole in this respect, and of their campaigns. I had the privilege of meeting them virtually recently, and I look forward to seeing them in person in due course. I am also aware of his dedicated campaigning on these issues in his role as a constituency MP.

Reflecting the complexity of the law in this area, our full response will be published this summer, providing an important opportunity to engage stakeholders and hon. Members as we continue to consider the remaining recommendations. We published the review because my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister felt it was very important that it was out there and people could contribute to that debate. As my hon. Friend highlights, we have accepted three recommendations and rejected one, and the other 13 will be considered very carefully in the light of representations made to us in the coming months.