Sarah Everard and crime victims deserve better than this PMQs inertia – The Yorkshire Post says

BORIS Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer’s apparent sincerity over the death of Sarah Everard, and need for collective action to protect women from violence and misogyny, masked a wider political malaise.

The death of Sarah Everard, who grew up in York, continues to prompt much national soul-searching.

Their apparent agreement at the outset of PMQs to do more to assist victims soon led to harsh words about some of the motives of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and whether, as Labour contend, it is a missed opportunity.

This also saw Sir Keir, a respected former Director of Public Prosecutions, set out how the Government had been promising action for a decade and should back the Victims Bill that he set out in 2016 shortly after being elected for the first time.

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What he did not say, as the percentage of successful rape convictions reaches an all-time low, is that New Labour stood on a manifesto as long ago as 1997 “to put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system”.

Victims policy was debated by Boris Johnson (pictured) and Sir Keir Starmer at Prime Minister's Questions.

Meanwhile Tony Blair and David Blunkett, the then Home Secretary, also launched A Strategic Plan for Criminal Justice in 2004 which promised to “ensure the needs and concerns of victims and witnesses are at the forefront of the criminal justice system”. It has not happened.

Both Mr Johnson and Sir Keir do agree that the death of Ms Everard, who grew up in York, is a moment comparable to the Stephen Lawrence and Jamie Bulger tragedies because of the profoundness of the wider societal issues that it raises. What the public – and all those women let down by the justice system – want to know is when the political response is going to be less disingenuous and more proactive. Lives depend on it.

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People stand next to floral tributes left at the band stand in Clapham Common, London, for Sarah Everard