Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
As a friend of one of the victims and a former criminal barrister, I take the view that the original sentence was the correct one in all the circumstances. Worboys, of course, was convicted on the basis that he was a dangerous predatory sex offender, and I have to be frank with my right hon. Friend, whom I warmly welcome to his position, that I and many others are struggling to believe that Worboys is no longer a danger. It is in the nature of this sort of offending that these men are often extremely cunning. We have to trust the Parole Board—I pay tribute to its work, and it must retain its independence—but if nothing else it must put a condition upon his release that he is not allowed back into Greater London. I know that that is not within the gift of the Secretary of State, but it is what the victims, who are very frightened of this man, need to hear.
I thank my right hon. Friend for her remarks. I quite understand why she is concerned about whether Worboys continues to pose a risk to the public. The Parole Board made an assessment on the basis of the evidence—several hundred pages of information in front of it—and it was an experienced board, but I am also not in a position to make that assessment. As she says, it is important that we trust the Parole Board—the case for transparency is that it will provide some helpful reassurance. On access to London, she makes her point powerfully, but it is for the Parole Board to determine the conditions.