Fury As Attorney General Scolds Labour MP Ellie Reeves For ‘Emotive Language’ When She Questions Him On Rape Conviction Rates

With convictions at a record low, Shadow Solicitor General Ellie Reeves asked if the government would 'sit back and watch the effective decriminalisation of rape'.

Houses of Parliament

by Rhiannon Evans |
Updated on

There's been social media fury after Attorney General Michael Ellis told female Labour MP Ellie Reeves when she was using 'emotive language' when she questioned him about rape conviction rapes in the UK.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Shadow Solicitor General Ellie Reeves took the government to task on the appalling rape conviction rate, which many commentators and campaigners have claimed is effectively the decriminalisation of rape in this country.

In the year to the end of March 2020, 58,856 cases of rape were recorded by police forces in England and Wales. These led to just 2,102 prosecutions, compared with 3,043 in the previous 12 months.

In July last year, Dame Vera Baird QC, Victims Commissioner said: ‘In effect, what we are witnessing is the decriminalisation of rape. In doing so, we are failing to give justice to thousands of complainants.’

In the year to March 2020, just 1.4% of rape cases recorded by police resulted in a suspect being charged (or receiving a summons).

Today, Ms Reeves said, speaking to the Attorney General: 'I’m not sure he grasps the scale of the issue. Last year the police recorded over 55,000 rapes but there were only 2,100 prosecutions and 1,400 convictions.

'The government announced their end to end rape review and we are still waiting for it. So I ask the Attorney General again, will he make rape a dedicated specialism within the CPS and will he back Labour’s Survivors Support plan for rape victims or will he sit back and watch the effective decriminalisation of rape?'

In response, Mr Ellis said: 'I don’t think that the emotive language that the honourable lady uses is appropriate at all. I have to say that’s not the case. The reality of the matter is we’ve said we will always look at any ideas and suggestions, but she talks about 55,000 cases. Only about 5,000 of those were actually referred to the CPS, so the CPS works very hard to prosecute and charge all of the cases referred to it and the statistics of that have gone up. They’re now at 65% of all cases referred to it are resulting in a charge and I would suggests she looks carefully at the CPSI report which indicates good work in this area, although I do very much acknowledge that more needs to be done.'

There was fury at his comments on social media, especially given the renewed calls of women for the government to listen to them about the threat of male violence, following the murder of Sarah Everard.

The government were criticised earlier this week for announcing a plan that included better street lighting and plain-clothes police officers in nightclubs.

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